PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) - Sunland Inc., the Portales peanut company responsible for a nationwide salmonella outbreak has been given the okay by the FDA to resume partial operations.
At the same time, the Department of Justice has been granted an injunction against the company outlining required changes at another part of their plant.
Sunland has been closed since September when they were linked to the Salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. The salmonella was found in peanut butter made for Trader Joe's and used in countless other food products. Further tests of the plant revealed 28 other areas with salmonella contamination. The FDA also says internal tests from 2009 showed a pattern of salmonella at the plant.
The FDA has now given Sunland the okay to resume operations at their peanut mill, which ships out raw unshelled peanuts, as long as they undergo an intense heating process that kills salmonella.
On the same day, a federal judge approved an injunction by the Department of Justice against Sunland's peanut butter plant. The filing outlines a list of requirements Sunland must meet in order to resume operations.
They include hiring an independent sanitation expert who will create an intense sanitation plan and testing process. They must also destroy all food products in their facility, aside from raw unshelled peanuts and if they get any positive salmonella tests they must notify the FDA immediately, something that has not been done in the past.
Sunland officials say they are anxious to get part of their plant reopen and are continuing to work on implementing the corrective action identified by the DOJ and FDA.
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