July 18, 2019

Sunland Plant Linked to 2012 Salmonella Outbreak Restarts

The Sunland plant that made peanut butter linked to a 2012 Salmonella Bredeney outbreak is restarting and could have products on store shelves within the next month according to AP. Forty-two people in 20 states were sickened in that outbreak. Ten people were hospitalized; there were no deaths. Sixty-one percent of ill persons in that outbreak were children under the age of 10.

Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter made with sea salt was a likely source of this outbreak. Last November, the FDA suspended Sunland’s food facility registration. The outbreak spurred a huge recall that eventually included pet food, ice cream, candy, in-shell peanuts, energy bars, nut butters, and premade appetizers and entrees.

The plant closing was the first time the FDA used its authority granted by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by public health officials did link the outbreak to products made by Sunland, Inc. of Portales, New Mexico. Officials found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney in opened jars of peanut butter collected from ill person’s homes. They also found that conditions in the company’s facility and manufacturing process “may have allowed peanut butter that contained Salmonella to be distributed by the company.” Environmental samples taken from the plant showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.

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