FDA Revokes Registration on Largest Organic Peanut Butter Producer After Rampant Salmonella Contamination

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For the first time in the FDA’s history, in accordance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act, the agency has suspended registration of Sunland, Inc. in Portales, N.M., in connection with a Salmonella outbreak in September that sickened 40 people in 20 states.

Organic or not, this is far from the first peanut butter recall of its kind. In 2009, a massive peanut recall impacted a laundry list of peanut products, peanut butter, of course, being one of them. This time, the FDA found salmonella in 28 environmental samples, 13 nut butter samples, and 1 raw peanut sample at the facility.

FDA Closes In

“A review of Sunland Inc.’s product testing records showed that 11 product lots of nut butter showed the presence of Salmonella between June 2009 and September 2012,” an emailed FDA statement read, reported on Food Safety News. “Between March 2010 and September 2012, at least a portion of 8 product lots of nut butter that Sunland Inc.’s own testing program identified as containing Salmonella was distributed by the company to consumers.”

Sunland voluntarily pulled its products from the market, although just a few hours later the company had its registration revoked.

Again, Food Safety News:

Sunland may request an informal hearing with FDA to address the suspension. If the hearing does not alleviate FDA’s concerns, the company will be asked to submit a “corrective action plan” to mitigate its problems scientifically.

It goes to show that organic or not, when foods come from thousands of miles away it can be all the more difficult to ensure the procedures that went into food safety.

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Tags: Food Safety | Food Security