December 5, 2016

Largest Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2014: #10

A Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut and almond butters made by nSpired Natural Foods Inc. was the tenth-largest food poisoning outbreak of 2014. The outbreak sickened six people in five states, one person was hospitalized. The products were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills and MaraNatha at a number of grocery stores including Arrowhead Mills, MaraNathha, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Safeway and Kroger. Health officials used pulsed field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing tests to identify the outbreak strain, Salmonella Braenderup, in case patients and in environmental samples collected from inspections at nSpired Natural Foods  in January and July 2014. nSpired Foods issued a recall for the products. Cases were reported in the following … [Read more...]

In Canada, Nut Butter Recall Updated to Correct Codes

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is updating the recall of MaraNatha and Trader Joe's nut butters for possible Salmonella contamination to include the correct codes on the products. The codes are marked with an asterisk (*) in the list at the CFIA web site. The recalled items are MaraNatha almond butter and peanut butter in various sizes, flavors, types and codes, and Trader Joe's raw unsalted almond butter in creamy and crunchy varieties. No illnesses have been reported to date in Canada, but four illnesses in the United States may be associated with the recalled MaraNatha and Trader Joe's products recalled in that country. If you purchased these products, do not eat them. Discard in a double bagged or closed container or return to the place of purchase for a … [Read more...]

Trader Joe’s and MaraNatha Nut Butters Recalled in Canada Too

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling MaraNatha and Trader Joe's brand almond butters and peanut butters for possible Salmonella contamination. There is a recall in the United States of some of these products; four people are ill in what may be an associated Salmonella outbreak. You can see the long list of recalled products at the CFIA web site, along with package sizes, UPC numbers, and codes and "best by" dates. The products are MaraNatha almond and peanut butters in various types, including raw and roasted, and Trader Joe's almond butter. You can also see pictures of all of the recalled product labels at that site. If you purchased any of these products, do not eat them. Discard in a double bag or return to the place of purchase for a refund. There have been no … [Read more...]

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. At 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 … [Read more...]

Fred Pritzker Reacts to PCA Indictments

The U.S. Department of Justice issued indictments against several officials of the Peanut Corporation of America today. That facility was linked to a 2009 Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 people in this country and killed nine. “The decision to prosecute Peanut Corporation of America officers and employees responsible for the deadly Salmonella outbreak in 2009 is an important and long overdue step towards improving food safety in the United States,” according to Fred Pritzker, president of the national food safety law firm, Pritzker Olsen, who represented several of the injury and death victims harmed by PCA products. “My clients are ecstatic that the wrongdoers responsible for this food safety debacle are finally going to be held accountable by the criminal justice … [Read more...]

Federal Judge Signs Consent Decree Against Sunland Inc.

U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson of the District of New Mexico has signed a consent decree placing requirements on Sunland Inc., the manufacturer of peanut products linked to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney. The decree is intended to keep potentially harmful products from entering commerce. Epidemiological evidence that linked Sunland to the nationwide outbreak, as well as a history of violations led to the consent decree. The FDA suspended Sunland's registration on November 26, 2012. This was the first time the agency's authority to prohibit a food facility from introducing product into the marketplace was used. That power was granted under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor said, "when the … [Read more...]

UGA To Study Salmonella In Peanut Butter, Other Foods

On the heels of a multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter, Joseph Frank, a food scientist at the University of Georgia, has been awarded a $499,998 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to study risks associated with Salmonella in dry and ready-to-eat foods, such as peanut butter. The study is one of 17 research projects funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The projects have the shared goal of improving food safety by controlling contamination. Salmonella causes more than 1 million cases of foodborne illness in the US each year, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of salmonellosis, the infection caused by Salmonella poisoning, include fever, abdominal cramping and bloody … [Read more...]

FDA Says Rapid Response Helped Contain Sunland Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration has released a consumer update, stating that their rapid response helped contain the Salmonella Bredeney outbreak linked to Sunland peanut butter. The product that caused the outbreak was Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt. The outbreak sickened 41 people in 20 states. Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented people in outbreaks like this, said, "Sunland had a responsibility to produce their peanut butter in a clean and safe environment. Ready to eat foods especially must be wholesome and free of contamination, or people will get sick." The outbreak was originally spotted in early September 2012, when reports of Salmonella Bredeney infections began. Many of those sickened were children, which raised a red flag with … [Read more...]

After Salmonella Outbreak, FDA Halts Sunland’s Operations

Citing its link to a 20-state Salmonella outbreak and its history of food safety violations, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered peanut butter maker Sunland Inc.  to suspend operations. The agency suspended the company's food facility registration, which prohibits it from doing business, today. It was the FDA’s first use of its registration suspension authority as outlined by  the Food Safety Modernization Act. Under the provision, the agency has  the authority  to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious illness  or death.  Documents recently released by the FDA, show that Sunland products tested positive for Salmonella 11 times  between June 2009 and September 2012. In a … [Read more...]

Surprise? Food + Salmonella + Pests = Food Poisoning

Is it a surprise or is it just math?  If documents newly made public by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are to be believed, Sunland Inc., the Portales, NM-based peanut butter company at the heart of a Salmonella outbreak and recall of over 250 products, has had unresolved food safety problems including Salmonella and pest control issues for the last five years. FDA documents, some of which are heavily redacted,  from 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012 all cite the same problems: the presence of Salmonella in the plant,  pest problems, poor food safety practices by employees, poor maintenance of the building and equipment and improper storage of raw materials. Here is a comparison of language used by FDA inspectors to describe problems at Sunland at 2007 and 2012. (Some of which were … [Read more...]

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