Food & Justice

FDA Grows Some Nuts, Shuts Down Dirty Peanut Butter Factory Responsible for Recall

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM
click to enlarge A peanut butter and banana sandwich - FLICKR/KTHREAD
  • Flickr/kthread
  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich

What's grosser than gross? Bird crap in your peanut butter.

The Food and Drug Administration has finally grown a pair and shut down the dirty factory that was responsible for the massive peanut butter et al recall in September, according to the Christian Science Monitor. In shuttering Sunland Inc. of Portales, NM, the agency for the first time used new powers granted by the Food Safety Modernization Act. President Obama signed the bill, which gives the FDA the authority to shut down food producers in the name of public health, into law two years ago. Before, the FDA would have to go through court to stop a company's production of filthy food products.

Sunland makes peanut butter, nut spreads and hundreds of other nut-based products distributed by retailers throughout the country, such as Target, Safeway and Whole Foods. At least they used to. Their troubles began a couple of months ago with a recall of one brand of Trader Joe's peanut butter. The recall expanded exponentially from there and eventually included 240 different products, including everything from cookies, brownies and snack mixes to chicken spring rolls and tahini dip. The final recall included every single product that came out of Sunland's factory between March 1, 2010 and Sept. 24, 2012 -- that's everything they made in the last two years-plus.

Peanut butter produced by Sunland was linked to a widespread Salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. That, "coupled with Sunland's history of violations led FDA to make the decision to suspend the company's registration," the FDA's statement on the shutdown reads.

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