Peanut lovers in Pennsylvania may want to wait until further notice to purchase another jar of peanut butter or bag of peanuts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have announced that a salmonella outbreak started at a facility that processes more organic peanuts than any other processing plant in the country.
The plant produced a peanut butter for the popular grocery store chain Trader Joe’s. That particular peanut butter facility was shut down last month for a top-to-bottom cleaning. But recently all of the company’s other processing and roasting locations were also closed, and the recall was expanded. Now over 300 products containing nuts have been deemed potentially dangerous.
When a 5-year-old girl in New Mexico fell ill after consuming numerous peanut products, her case became the 36th confirmed by the FDA in 20 states. The majority of cases appear to be the result of the Trader Joe’s peanut butter, but the manufacturer, Sunland Inc., makes peanut products for other large retail stores as well, including Costco and Target.
The FDA wants consumers to know that every product that came out of the facility since March 2010 has been recalled.
It was in 2007 when the FDA officially listed peanut butter as a product that carries a high risk of salmonella. That decision came after a salmonella outbreak made over 400 people ill. Those victims had eaten a peanut butter that was produced in Nebraska at a ConAgra plant. In that case, leaks in the roof and a broken sprinkler system apparently caused a noxious mixture containing salmonella.
When big manufacturers make products that end up harming people, the victims need to know that there are laws on the books to protect them. Manufacturers and distributors alike have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers, and when those obligations aren’t met, the negligent parties can be held accountable in civil court.
Source: News West 9, “NM peanut capital at heart of national recall,” Jeri Clausing, Oct. 19, 2012