A nut factory has been shut down after the Food and Drug Administration found it primarily culpable for the massive peanut butter recall of September. Improper and unsanitary handling of nuts distributed amongst hundreds of nut-containing products for millions of people from the plant sickened a reported forty-one persons with Salmonella.
Food Safety Modernization Act signed by President Obama gives the FDA the authority to shut down any factories or food producers that could pose a problem to public health. The FDA used its authority to shut down the nut factory Sunland Inc. based at Portales, NM for the first time ever. Something that used to take years to battle and prove in court was able to happen in a span of less than two years.
Sunland is a company that uses their facilities to make diverse nut products, from peanut butters to nut spreads. Their products were distributed amongst popular retailers such as Target, Safeway and even Whole Foods prior to the massive recall. The FDA put announcements on about 240 various nut products ranging from cookies, to brownies, snack mixes, and tahini dip. According to Squid Ink the nut problem began when one of Trader Joes peanut butters was recalled. When the final recall dealing with the problem was announced it included most every product produced at Sunland’s factory between the periods of March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012.
After it was decided that at least forty-one people in twenty states were sickened by Salmonella the FDA followed through with procedures to protect consumers and released a statement regarding the closure of the Sunbeam factory.
“Coupled with Sunland’s history of violations led FDA to make the decision to suspend the company’s registration” informed the FDA’s statement.
According to an FDA review of the company records, they had found Salmonella in at least 11 batches of product over a three year span between the dates of June 2009 and December 2012. Despite the finding, Sunland distributed the nut products, the report stated. Toxic exposure to consumers out of neglect is unacceptable and they should not have to pay for it.
“Between March 2010 and September 2012, at least a portion of eight product lots of nut butter that Sunland Inc.’s own testing program identified as containing Salmonella was distributed by the company to consumers,” the FDA stated.
“Additionally, during its inspection of the plant in September and October 2012, the FDA found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples (from surfaces in production or manufacturing areas) and in 13 nut butter product samples and one product sample of raw peanuts.”
During the inspection, the FDA also found “improper handling of products, unclean equipment and uncovered trailers of peanuts that were exposed to rain and birds outside the facility.” This means that the peanuts on the outdoor trailers could have been exposed to bird feces and perhaps other critters, which then could have been mixed into someone’s peanut butter now feces sandwich.
The FDA suspended Sunland’s license on Monday and is expecting them to come up with ways to make the facilities safer to handling the food of the consumers. “The FDA will reinstate Sunland Inc.’s registration only when the FDA determines that the company has implemented procedures to produce safe products.”
If you have been injured by one of Sunbeams’ products contact a Los Angeles injury lawyer, you may be entitled to compensation.