June 17, 2024

After Salmonella Outbreak, Bankruptcy Sunland Plant Heads To Auction

The Portales, NM plant of Sunland Inc., once the nation’s largest producer of organic peanut butter, will be auctioned this week as part of a bankruptcy that followed a 2012 Salmonella outbreak.  The tainted peanut butter, sold under a variety of name brands including Trader Joe’s, sickened 42 people in 20 states and triggered a massive recall.

SalmonellaAt the time of its Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2013, Sunland’s 30-page list of creditors had about 1,000 names. The company was also named as a defendant in a number of civil lawsuits stemming from illnesses associated with the outbreak.

California-based Ready Roast Nut Co. has already offered $18.5 million for the shuttered plant. That will be the reserve price for all bidders in Thursday’s auction.

The Sunland Salmonella outbreak was one of the largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak of 2012. Ten people were hospitalized.  Most of the those who got sick were children under 10.

More than 250 products were recalled for potential Salmonella contamination including brand names such as Trader Joe’s, Newman’s Own, Earth Balance, Harry & David, Target’s Archer Farms and Safeway’s Open Nature. The peanut butter also made its way into the National School Lunch program via Smucker’s Uncrustables and bulk drums.


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