Applaud the FDA’s Decision to Suspend Production in Company Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Target: Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D.,

Goal: Commend the FDA for temporarily halting the operations of the company responsible for a recent outbreak of salmonella poisoning.

Sunland is the nation’s largest organic peanut butter company, selling peanut products to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, and other grocery chains. Sunland recently closed its New Mexico plant after it was linked to the recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning that sickened over 40 people in 20 states. However, following an investigation into the outbreak, the FDA suspended Sunland’s registration preventing them from producing or distributing any food until Sunland could prove that the company had taken preventative measures to ensure that another outbreak would not happen again. Sign this petition and commend the FDA for taking appropriate measures to ensure public safety.

Sunland closed its New Mexico plant voluntarily and had assumed that they would be able to reopen this week. However, during the FDA investigation into Sunland operating practices following the September outbreak of salmonella poisoning, the FDA found samples of salmonella in almost 30 locations within the plant, in over 10 nut butter samples, and also in samples of raw peanuts. Additionally, the FDA found unclean equipment and improper handling of the products, such as trailers of peanuts that had been left outside and exposed to animals and the weather.

The FDA also found evidence that led them to believe that over the last three years, Sunland knowingly shipped products that tested positive for salmonella in internal tests. Similar violation reports, including one in which employees used their bare hands on or in the jars of peanut butter, were released from inspections in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011. All of these instances led the FDA to suspend Sunland’s registration and halt production until such a time as they can prove to have effectively improved their production methods to ensure that another salmonella outbreak will not happen again. Sign this petition and applaud the FDA for a thorough investigation and for taking measures to ensure public safety.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D.,

We wish to applaud your decision to suspend Sunland’s registration, effectively halting the company’s production and distribution of food. Based on the results of the FDA’s investigation into Sunland production practices, the company had not just cut corners in their production but also gone so far as to knowingly endanger the public by sending out materials that had tested positive for salmonella.

As a result of the 2011 food safety law, the FDA now has the authority to shut down the operation of those companies producing food with a reasonable probability of causing illness or death. Those companies that have had their production halted then have to issue an appeal in which they prove what preventative measures have been taken to ensure public health. This law is an important step forward in ensuring public health and safety.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dr Stephen Dann via Flickr

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