The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it has blocked food distribution from the Sunland Inc. peanut butter plant in New Mexico whose products were subject to a wide recall in recent months because of salmonella contamination.
The plant supplies peanut butter products to stores, restaurants and retailers like Starbucks (there's one in 699 Gravois Bluffs Blvd. in Fenton).
The various types of Sunland peanut butter products—sold under several brands by major food retailers, including Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Target—had been part of a voluntary recall that began in September and later was expanded to include other nut butters as well as processed nuts and peanuts. Several of these items are sold at various stores in and around Seminole Heights.
The FDA action announced Monday is a mandatory order.
The company's nut products have been "linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney that has sickened 41 people in 20 states," the FDA said.
Of the 41 sickened, 28 percent were hospitalized, according to the most recent report on the outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the Associated Press:
During a month-long investigation, after the outbreak linked to processor Sunland and to Trader Joe's, FDA inspectors found samples of salmonella in 28 different locations in [Sunland's New Mexico] plant, in 13 nut butter samples and in one sample of raw peanuts.
The agency also found improper handling of the products, unclean equipment and uncovered trailers of peanuts outside the facility that were exposed to rain and birds.
The voluntary recall began after salmonella was detected in a lot of Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter, which had an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) number 97111, according to the FDA. Only certain lots were affected by the recall.
Some of the products aren't just jars of peanut butter, but products that might have used those nut butters. Kilwins' sugar free peanut butter fudge is part of the recall and so is General Mills' Cascadian Farm granola bars that contain peanuts.
Sunland is the nation's largest processor of organic peanut butter products, AP reported. Sunland's nut products are not exclusively organic.
The FDA order—which suspends the registration of the plant in Portales, N.M., and prohibits it from distributing food for sale—marks the first time the agency has invoked its new authority to suspend the registration of a food production facility, the FDA said. The authority was granted under the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last January.
Sunland had ceased operations at the plant and intended to restart Tuesday, resuming sales of peanut butter products by the end of this year, according to AP.
Sunland officials said they were surprised by the federal order, are cooperating with the FDA, and hope to be back in operation soon, the AP reported.
The FDA said the widespread illnesses "coupled with Sunland’s history of violations led FDA to make the decision to suspend the company’s registration."
The FDA also cited Sunland's own testing results showing salmonella in 11 product lots of nut butter between June 2009 and September 2012.
Here is a list of affected products from the FDA:
- AdvancePierre Foods - Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, Peanut Butter and Jelly Graham Cracker sandwiches and Peanut Butter cup products
- Albertsons - Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream
- Belfonte Ice Cream and Dairy Foods Company - Home Run Sundae Ice Cream, Mama's Choice Reverse Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream
- Boulder Ice Cream - Ice Cream and gelato products containing peanut products
- Brookshire Grocery Company - Goldenbrook Farms Peanut Butter Bash Ice Cream
- BT McElrath Chocolatier - Peanut Butter Pave
- Buck's Ice Cream - Iskream brand Peanut Butter and Jelly No Sugar Added Ice Cream
- Bumble Bar - Gluten Free Café Chocolate Sesame Bars and Gluten Free Café Cinnamon Sesame Bars
- Chattanooga Bakery Inc. - MoonPie Crunch Peanut Butter product
- Clemmy's Ice Cream - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Creative Energy Foods - RidgeBar Peanut Butter Crunch, Crunch thinkThin bars
- Fairytale Brownies - Peanut Butter Brownies, Peanut Butter Sprites and Peanut Butter Cookies
- Falcon Trading Company/SunRidge Farms - Sunridge Candy Energy Nuggets, Sunridge Candy Peanut Butter Power Chews, and Sunridge Snack Mix Treasure Trove Mix; Chocolate Brownie Squares, Chocolate Double Decker Chew, Peanut Butter Crunchy with Salt-Organic, Peanut Butter Creamy No Salt-Organic
- Flying Food Group - Starbucks brand Protein Bistro Box
- General Mills - Cascadian Farm Granola Bars containing peanuts
- Giant Food - Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
- Gretchen's Shoebox Express - Evolution Fresh Brand Cinnamon Apple & Almond Butter Sandwiches and Evolution Fresh Brand Almond Butter; Starbucks brand Protein Bistro Box
- Harry and David - Crunchy Almond and Peanut Butter, Creamy Banana Peanut Spread, Creamy Caramel Peanut Spread, Creamy Raspberry Peanut Spread and gift baskets containing the items
- Hines Nut Company - Salted Jumbo Virginia In-Shell Peanuts
- JagRma - NuttZo Original 16oz Nut and Seed Butter
- Jer's Chocolates - Gourmet Peanut Butter Bars and Gourmet Jer's Squares
- Justin's - Natural Classic Peanut Butter Jars and Squeeze Packs, Organic Classic Peanut Butter Jars and Squeeze Packs, Natural Honey Peanut Butter Jars and Squeeze Packs, Organic Honey Peanut Butter Jars and Squeeze Packs, Natural Chocolate Peanut Butter Jars and Squeeze Packs, Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Kilwins Quality Confections - Sugar Free Peanut Butter Fudge
- Late July Snacks - Organic Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
- Lin-Mar Partners - Longhorn Roasted Peanut with Chocolate Energy Bars and Longhorn Peanut Butter Trail Mix Protein Bars
- Luna & Larry's - Coconut Bliss Chocolate Peanut Butter Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
- Magnolia Bird Farm, Inc. - Raw and Roasted In-shell Peanuts and Magnolia Bird Farm Bird seed mixes that contain peanuts
- Meadow Gold Dairy - Western Family brand Creamery Select (Premium Ice Cream) Peanut Butter Cup
- Mondelēz Global LLC - Green & Black’s Organic Peanut & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Bar
- Natural Selection Foods - Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach Grab & Go Salad Kits with Peanuts
- Newman's Own Organics - Peanut Butter Newman-O’s Sandwich Crème Cookies
- Oregon Ice Cream Company - Alden's Peanut Butter 'n Chip Ice Cream and Cascade Glacier Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
- PureFit - PureFit Peanut Butter Crunch nutrition bars
- Rich Products Corporation - Jon Donaire Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake, TCBY Peanut Buttery Fudge Deep Dish Frozen Yogurt Pie
- Smith Dairy Products Company - Smith’s Peanut Butter Crunch Ice Cream, Acme Peanut Butter Twist Ice Cream, and Ruggles Peanut Butter Crunch and Peanut Butter Brownie Crunch Ice Cream
- Stop & Shop Supermarket Company - Late July Organic Snacks Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
- Super Store Industries - Lovin’ Scoopful Super Duper Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
- Talenti Gelato - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Gelato
- TBD Brands - Yoghund brand Organic Banana & Peanut Butter frozen yogurt dog treats
- Tofts Dairy - Buckeye Bites Ice Cream
- Torn and Glasser, Inc. - Salted in-shell Peanuts and Organic Peanut Butter
- Trifecta Foods, LLC - Fresh Pak and Energy Club brands of in-shell roasted salted and unsalted peanuts
- Velvet Ice Cream - Buckeye Classic ice cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ice cream
- Whole Foods Market - Several varieties of cookies containing peanut butter, Peanut Butter Power Chews and Treasure Trove Mix, Chicken Spring Rolls and Peanut Sesame Noodles
- Wildwood Seed & Specialties - Sleek and Sassy brand bird and small animal foods that contain raw in-shell peanuts
- Xan Confections - Peanut butter chocolate products