Remember that filthy peanut butter factory that the feds shut down last month? You know, the one responsible for the massive peanut butter recall that sickened at least 42 people in 20 states and eventually expanded to nearly 300 different nut and seed products the company produced? Every single product they had made in the last two years, in fact? And then when federal investigators checked out their Portales, N.M. factory, they found salmonella bacteria all over the equipment, as well as huge vats of peanuts exposed to rain and bird excrement?
Well, good news, PBJ lovers: The Food and Drug Administration just gave Sunland Inc. a preliminary green light to reopen and start making peanut butter again. The company has been given the go ahead to begin harvesting a bumper crop of prized eastern New Mexico Valencia peanuts — starting this week!
A consent decree filed in federal court last Friday says Sunland can reopen its Portales plant if it hires an independent expert to develop a sanitation plan, which then must be approved by the FDA, according to the Albuquerque Star Tribune.
The disgusting conditions at the factory, which is the largest organic peanut butter producer in the country, prompted the FDA in November to use new authority for the first time to revoke the company's operating license without a court hearting. (Note to Sunland: rainwater and bird crap are not technically considered “organic.”)
Friday's filing reinstates Sunland's food facility registration. But the company cannot process or distribute food until it has complied with the consent decree's requirements and receives written authorization from the FDA. Once the company's peanut butter hits stores again, it will be difficult for you to find it, though, since Sunland's products tend to be packaged under store brand names.
But we're sure they've cleaned up their act. And we believe Santa Claus brought us these lovely cashmere-lined leather gloves, too.
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