January 22, 2018

Sunland Restarts Operations at Peanut Mill Plant After Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA has reinstated Sunland’s food facility registration after the Salmonella Bredeney outbreak last fall that sickened 42 people in 20 states. The FDA suspended Sunland’s registration on November 26, 2012. And U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson imposed a consent decree on the facility on December 21, 2012, shutting it down.

The FDA’s actions were the first use of the agency’s authority to stop shipment of products into commerce, through the Food Safety Modernization Act. According to the consent decree, the company could not “process or distribute food from its peanut butter plant or peanut mill plant in Portales, New Mexico, until it has complied with the consent decree’s requirements to the agency’s satisfaction.”

The FDA investigated the Portales plant after the Salmonella outbreak was linked to Sunland’s products. They found the presence of Salmonella bacteria in environmental samples taken at the Sunland nut butter facility. It had the same DNA fingerprint as the outbreak strain. Government officials also found the outbreak strain of the bacteria in peanut butter made in that facility.

Sunland recalled all of its nut butter products, raw and roasted in-shell peanuts, and derivative products last fall. The recall was huge, lasted for weeks, and encompassed many diverse foods  including pet food and ice cream. You can see all of the recalled products at the FDA web site.

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