Salmonella found in New Mexico plant that produces nut butters for retailer Trader Joe's, other large grocery chains, FDA says; Trader Joe's peanut butter now linked to 35 salmonella illnesses in 19 states, most of them in children under age 10

WASHINGTON , October 5, 2012 (press release) – The FDA announces that environmental samples taken in the Sunland Inc. nut butter production facility show the presence of Salmonella. Further analysis to identify the type of Salmonella is pending. Environmental samples are samples taken from various surfaces in the production or manufacturing facility that would likely harbor bacteria.

Also, testing conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture laboratory isolated the outbreak strain from an opened jar of Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from a case-patient’s home.

On October 4, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include all products made in the Sunland nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012. The company reports that it is adding 139 products to the recall, bringing the total number of products being recalled by Sunland Inc. to 240.

The expanded recall covers all previously identified Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Tahini products as well as Roasted Blanched Peanut Products. New product categories being added to the list are several varieties of flavored butters and spreads, including Thai Ginger Butter, Chocolate Butter and Banana Butter.

A list of all products being recalled by Sunland Inc. can be found in the company's recall announcement.

The expanded recall adds forty-nine (49) products that are currently within the manufacturer’s recommended shelf-life, that is, the “Best-If-Used-By” dates have not expired. The expanded recall also covers ninety (90) products consumers may still have in their homes which are older than the “Best-If-Used-By Date”.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections. We are moving quickly to learn as much as possible and prevent additional people from becoming ill. We recognize that people will be concerned about this outbreak, and we will continue to provide updates and advice.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done?

The FDA’s top priority is protecting consumers and ensuring the safety of our food supply. The FDA, the CDC and state and local public health officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of SalmonellaBredeney infections linked to peanut butter made by Sunland Inc. of Portales, New Mexico. The linked peanut butter was Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter, with a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) identifier of 97111.

The CDC reports a total of 35 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney from 19 states.

Once FDA became involved in this fast-moving outbreak investigation, we began coordinating and working closely with the CDC and several state health departments, which have been leading their own investigations. On September 20, FDA, the CDC and the state of California briefed Trader Joe’s on the status of the investigation, and the company voluntarily removed the suspected product from their store shelves. Trader Joe’s has also posted a customer advisory on their internet page and initiated a recall.

As part of its investigation, FDA contacted Sunland Inc., which makes Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. On September 23, FDA and CDC briefed Sunland Inc. on the status of the investigation and the company voluntarily recalled the almond butter and peanut butter products that were manufactured on the same product line as Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter between May 1 and September 24, 2012.

On the evening of September 24, Sunland Inc. expanded their recall to about 100 products, which include peanut butter and other products made with nuts and seeds.

On October 5, The FDA announced that environmental samples taken in the Sunland Inc. nut butter production facility show the presence of Salmonella. Further analysis to identify the type of Salmonellais pending. Environmental samples are samples taken from various surfaces in the production or manufacturing facility that would likely harbor bacteria.

Also, testing conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture laboratory isolated the outbreak strain from an opened jar of Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from a case-patient’s home.

On October 4, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include all products made in the Sunland nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012. The company reports that it is adding 139 products to the recall, bringing the total number of products being recalled by Sunland Inc. to 240.

The expanded recall covers all previously identified Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Tahini products as well as Roasted Blanched Peanut Products. New product categories being added to the list are several varieties of flavored butters and spreads, including Thai Ginger Butter, Chocolate Butter and Banana Butter.

The expanded recall adds forty-nine (49) products that are currently within the manufacturer’s recommended shelf-life, that is, the “Best-If-Used-By” dates have not expired. The expanded recall also covers ninety (90) products consumers may still have in their homes which are older than the “Best-If-Used-By Date”.

A list of all products being recalled by Sunland Inc. can be found in the company's recall announcement.

As the investigation progresses we will keep the public informed.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers should not eat the recalled products. This is especially important for children under the age of 5 years, elderly adults, and people with weak immune systems. All products with “Best-If-Used-By” dates of March 1, 2011 or later should be discarded or returned immediately.

Consumers who have products which are within their current shelf life (“Best-If-Used-By” dates of October 4, 2012 and later) should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund or discard them. All expired products (“Best-If-Used-By” dates of October 4, 2012 and earlier) should be discarded.

What is Being Recalled?

Peanut butter and other nut and seed products made by Sunland Inc. are distributed nationally under several brand names via supermarket chains and on the internet. A list of all products being recalled by Sunland Inc. can be found in the company's recall announcement.

The following companies have informed FDA and the public of related recalls. Please see the news release links below for product specifics and recall dates:

• Chattanooga Bakery Inc. - Peanut Butter Crunch products

• Fairytale Brownies - Peanut Butter Brownies, Peanut Butter Sprites oand Peanut Butter Cookies

• Falcon Trading Company/SunRidge Farms - Sunridge Candy Energy Nuggets; Sunridge Candy Peanut Butter Power Chews; and Sunridge Snack Mix Treasure Trove Mix



• Giant Food - Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

• Gretchen's Shoebox Express - Evolution Fresh Brand Cinnamon Apple & Almond Butter Sandwiches and Evolution Fresh Brand Almond Butter; Protein Bistro Box

• Harry and David - Crunchy Almond and Peanut Butter, Creamy Banana Peanut Spread, Creamy Raspberry Peanut Spread and gift baskets containing these items

• Jer's Chocolates - Gourmet Peanut Butter Bars and Gourmet Jer's Squares

• Justin's - Classic Peanut Butter Jars and Honey Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs

• Late July Snacks - Organic Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

• Newman's Own Organics - Peanut Butter Newman-O’s Sandwich Crème Cookies

• Oregon Ice Cream Company - Alden's Peanut Butter 'n Chip Ice Cream and Cascade Glacier Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

• Stop & Shop Supermarket Company - Late July Organic Snacks Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

• Whole Foods Market - Several varieties of cookies containing peanut butter, Peanut Butter Power Chews and Treasure Trove Mix, Chicken Spring Rolls and Peanut Sesame Noodles

• Xan Confections - Peanut butter chocolate products

What are the Symptoms of Salmonellosis?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at Risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other persons. Young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons die each year with acute salmonellosis.

Who Should be Contacted?

Consumers can contact Sunland Inc. at 1-866-837-1018 for information on the recall. This toll-free number is operational 24 hours a day.

Consumers who show any signs of illness from salmonellosis should consult their health care provider. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

Investigation Progression

September 20, 2012

FDA, the CDC and the state of California briefed Trader Joe’s on the status of the investigation, and the company volunteered to remove the suspected product from their store shelves. Trader Joe’s has also posted a customer advisory on their internet page and initiated a recall.

September 24, 2012

As part of its investigation, FDA contacted Sunland Inc., which makes Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. On September 23, FDA and CDC briefed Sunland Inc. on the status of the investigation and the company voluntarily recalled the almond butter and peanut butter products that were manufactured on the same product line as Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter between May 1 and September 24, 2012.

September 25, 2012

FDA inspectors are continuing their investigation at the Sunland Inc. production facility. On the evening of September 24, Sunland Inc. expanded their recall to about 100 products.

October 5, 2012

The FDA announces that environmental samples taken in the Sunland Inc. nut butter production facility show the presence of Salmonella. Further analysis to identify the type of Salmonella is pending. Environmental samples are samples taken from various surfaces in the production or manufacturing facility that would likely harbor bacteria.

Also, testing conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture laboratory isolated the outbreak strain from an opened jar of Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from a case-patient’s home.

On October 4, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include all products made in the Sunland nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012. The company reports that it is adding 139 products to the recall, bringing the total number of products being recalled by Sunland Inc. to 240.

The expanded recall covers all previously identified Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Tahini products as well as Roasted Blanched Peanut Products. New product categories being added to the list are several varieties of flavored butters and spreads, including Thai Ginger Butter, Chocolate Butter and Banana Butter.

The expanded recall adds forty-nine (49) products that are currently within the manufacturer’s recommended shelf-life, that is, the “Best-If-Used-By” dates have not expired. The expanded recall also covers ninety (90) products consumers may still have in their homes which are older than the “Best-If-Used-By Date”.

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