A spokesperson for the company told FoodNavigator-USA that it was ‘hopeful’ the FDA would approve the restarting of operations at the shelling operation soon.
The company operates a shelling facility and a peanut processing facility to produce peanut butter. It is the company’s peanut butter that has been linked to a Salmonella Bredeney outbreak that has sickened 41 people in 20 states.
Sunland rejected the opportunity for an ‘informal hearing’ and requested a meeting with FDA, which was granted. The spokesperson added that the hope is that FDA separates the peanut shelling and peanut butter facilities, allowing the company to reopen its shelling facility as soon as possible.
FDA recently suspended the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., the first time the Agency has exercised this new authority through the Food Safety & Modernization Act (FSMA).
This new authority enables the agency to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and other conditions are met.
Sunland said recently that the suspension was “unexpected and the company is disappointed by this development”.
“Sunland, Inc. shut down operations in its peanut butter plant just prior to initiating its voluntary recall on September 24, 2012 and shut down shelling operations in its separate peanut mill when the recall was expanded in October,” said the company.
“During the last two months Sunland has been working with experts as well as with FDA, analyzing data, and developing and implementing proposed corrective actions in order to be in a position to reopen first the shelling plant and then the peanut butter plant.
“Sunland's goal remains the same—to take all appropriate measures for the safe processing and handling of raw peanuts in its shelling plant and the safe production of nut butter products in its peanut butter plant. Sunland is continuing to work with FDA in order to accomplish all steps necessary to begin shelling operations in its peanut mill as soon as possible.”