Sunland, Inc., the New Mexico peanut processor recently shut down for its connection with a nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to its peanut butter, may be permanently shut down if an injunction requested by the FDA is allowed, reports Food Safety News.
New Mexico District Judge William P. Johnson signed a consent decree last week after the FDA asked the court to issue a permanent injunction against the manufacturer and distributor of peanut products—which includes nearly 90 percent of the nation's organic peanut butter products for various well-known brands. Sunland was prohibited from operating after the FDA suspended the company's food facility registration in late November when more than 40 cases of Salmonella poisoning in 20 states were linked to the facility.
According to Food Safety News, Sunland "had knowingly released contaminated product onto the market between 2009 and 2012," even though the company denies ever selling any contaminated products, "knowingly." In the FDA's letter of suspension, the agency noted, “Your facility distributed at least a portion of eight lots of peanut and almond butter consisting of multiple brands manufactured between March 01, 2010 and September 2012, after composite testing of those lots revealed the presence of Salmonella."
If the New Mexico District Court sides with the FDA and against Sunland, the company will be prohibited from operating, according to Food Safety News, "until FDA determines that it is in full compliance with federal safety standards and no longer has the potential to release harmful product onto the market."
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Image: Dr Stephen Dann