November 27, 2012 — Sunland, Inc, the nation’s largest processor of organic peanut butter, was set to re-start production at their facility today, less than two months after they recalled hundreds of nut products due to contamination with Salmonella. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using new enforcement powers to halt production at the facility. The company will be required to prove their facility is clean before they can resume production.
According to the Associated Press, FDA investigators conducted a month-long study of the facility after the recall in September. They found several strains of Salmonella bacteria in 28 different locations in the facility. One sample of raw peanuts and 13 samples of nut butters tested positive for the bacteria. The investigators found unsanitary handling practices (including employees placing bare fingers in empty jars), dirty equipment, and open trailers filled with peanuts that could be contaminated with bird droppings or rain.
The facility, located in New Mexico, has a history of sanitation violations from 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Inspectors also found evidence that Sunland continued selling products that tested positive for Salmonella on multiple occasions during the past three years. However, the FDA did not shut down the facility or announce the results of these inspections publicly until the outbreak of food poisoning in September.
A law passed in 2011 granted the FDA new authority to revoke the registration of food processors without requiring permission from the courts. Once the FDA revokes a company’s registration, they are not allowed to produce or distribute food until they and prove their facility is clean. The FDA’s action against Sunland is the first time the agency has used this new power.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause severe, acute food poisoning that can be deadly, especially for young children, the elderly, and people who have a weak immune system. The bacteria thrives in the feces and intestines of animals and humans. Food is contaminated with Salmonella when feces, sewage, or contaminated water come in contact with food. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, fatigue, and abdominal cramps.
Do I have a Sunland Peanut Butter Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Sunland peanut butter induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by peanut butter food poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.