FDA Suspends Peanut Butter Plant’s Operations Over Connection to Salmonella Outbreak

730527_36806306.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently suspended the registration of a peanut butter facility in New Mexico after an investigation linked its products to a nationwide salmonella outbreak. The FDA’s order prohibits the facility from introducing any food products into inter- or intrastate commerce. It issued the order under authority granted to it by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA), which provides the FDA with authority to shut down facilities for serious risks to public health. The company will have an opportunity to contest the order, but the FDA will only lift the order when it finds the company has remedied the problems.

The outbreak of Salmonella Bredney sickened forty-two people nationwide, including three in Connecticut. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), twenty-eight percent of the victims required hospitalization, but no deaths were reported. Children under ten years of age accounted for sixty-one percent of victims. Investigations by the CDC, the FDA, and various state health agencies identified Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanut Butter as a likely source of the contamination. Sunland, Inc. manufactures the product at a facility in Portales, New Mexico. Sunland announced a voluntary recall of Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut butter on September 24, 2012. It later expanded the recall to cover a total of 240 products manufactured at its Portales plant between March 2010 and September 2012, as well as raw and roasted peanuts originating from the plant.