Long History of Violations at Peanut Plant Linked to Salmonella Outbreak
Company knowingly shipped contaminated product
Food Safety News
By Gretchen Goetz | November 14, 2012
Sunland, Inc.--the company whose peanut butter was the source of a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people this year--has a history of sanitation problems dating back to 2003, according to government reports released Wednesday.
Inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration noted a string of unsanitary conditions at the company’s peanut butter processing plant between 2003 and 2011, reveal the newly published documents. Then, during its investigation following the Salmonella Bredeney outbreak this year, FDA discovered that the company had distributed peanut and almond butters that had tested positive for Salmonella a total of 21 times since 2009.
During the post-outbreak inspection, health officials found Salmonella in four samples of finished peanut butter product and one sample of shelled raw peanuts. Two of the strains found in the peanut butter are known to be Salmonella Bredeney. The serotypes of the other three were still being analyzed when the report was released.
Tests also revealed various stains of Salmonella in 23 samples swabbed from processing equipment and floors in the peanut butter plant. Three of these were S. Bredeney, nine were other strains, and the rest have yet to be analyzed, according to the report.
Inspectors noted an overall “failure to manufacture foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination,” during their post-outbreak inspection – conducted between September 17 and October 16, 2012.
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More on this outbreak: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak