You’ve probably had your head stuck in the sand if you haven’t heard of the massive recall of peanut butter products over the last month that have been linked to a salmonella outbreak.
Late last month, the FDA linked a salmonella outbreak to peanut butter, produced for Trader Joe’s, to Sunland Inc. Sunland operates the country’s largest USDA certified organic peanut processing plant. Though the illnesses have only been linked to the Trader Joe’s product, Sunland has recalled everything made in the plant since March 2010 – a total of 240 products. Now, Sunland hopes to reopen it peanut processing and roasting facility within a week to ten days, though it could be six to eight weeks before peanut butter production resumes.
The FDA has stepped up investigations of peanut facilities after a 2007 outbreak sickened more than 400 people who ate peanut butter processed at a facility in Nebraska. After this occurrence, peanut butter was identified by the FDA as a high-risk food. This has not been the first of problems for a Sunland plant. FDA records show two inspections in 2009 and 2010 that found “objectionable conditions” at the plants.
The current recall affects many peanut butters labeled natural or organic, but does not include major brands like Skippy, Jiff, or Peter Pan.