In what could be the first use of its registration suspension authority under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA on Monday suspended Sunland Inc.'s, food facility registration, thereby prohibiting the nation's largest organic peanut butter processor from distributing its products.
Sunland's Trader Joe's brand Valencia Creamy Salted peanut has been linked to an outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney, which first came to light in September. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the outbreak has sickened 41 people in 20 states so far.
The FDA in a statement said that a review of Sunland's product testing records between June 2009 and September 2012 revealed the presence of Salmonella in 11 product lots. Between March 2010 and September 2012, at least a portion of 8 product lots of nut butter that Sunland's own testing program identified as containing Salmonella was distributed by the company to consumers.
Additionally, during the inspection of the company's facility, in September and October 2012, the FDA found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples and in 13 nut butter product samples and one product sample of raw peanuts.
Sunland will be required to carry out corrective actions to address the immediate problems and its registration will be reinstated only when the FDA determines that the company has implemented procedures to produce safe products.
However, the company has an opportunity to request an informal hearing on certain issues related to the suspension order.
by RTT Staff Writer
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