Salmonella recall expands to raw, roasted peanuts


Raw and roasted peanuts made by Sunland, Inc. are now being included in an ongoing nationwide recall of peanut and other nut products over potential salmonella contamination that has affected many popular brands.

Sunland announced on Friday that both in-shell and shelled raw and roasted peanuts within their current shelf life should not be eaten and the products should be disposed of immediately or returned for a refund.

The raw and roasted peanuts available to retail customers were distributed primarily under Sunland's own label and were distributed primarily to produce houses and nationally to numerous large supermarket, grocery and retail chains in addition to online sales, the company said in a Food and Drug Administration press release.

The roasted peanuts being recalled were distributed April 12, 2012 to October 12, 2012 and will have best by/expiration dates on the packaging from October 12, 2012 through April 12, 2013. The raw peanuts being recalled (shelled and in-shell), were distributed from October 12, 2011 to October 12, 2012, and will have either best by dates from October 12, 2012 through October 12, 2013 on the packaging, or a "Crop Year" marking on the package of 2011 or 2012, up to and including October 12, 2012.

More than 240 products are now including in the company's recalls. A full list of peanuts and other products can be found on Sunland's web site.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. It sneaks its way into many foods, including ground beef, pork, tomatoes, sprouts and fruit.

A total of 35 people in 19 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella tied to Sunland, Inc., including eight people who were hospitalized. More than 60 percent of infected patients were 10 years old or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Healthy people infected with salmonella may experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances the infection, called salmonellosis, can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The recall tied to the salmonella outbreak first gained attention in late September after Trader Joe's recalled its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter Sept. 22 after 29 people became infected with salmonella in 18 states following FDA testing.

The CDC said at the time that people became sick between June 11 and Sept. 2. The recall was then expanded on Sept. 24 to include 76 types of peanut and almond butters, including Archer Farms, Earth Balance, Natural value and other brands.

Earlier in October the recall was expanded yet again to include 101 products sold at various retailers, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Target and Stop & Shop stores. Products were expanded to include cashew butters, tahini and blanched and roasted peanut products.

FDA records show Sunland was found to have "objectionable conditions" at its New Mexico plant during 2009 and 2010 inspections, but the findings did not meet the agency's threshold to take action. An FDA investigation conducted last month after the illnesses were linked to the plant found salmonella in environmental samples taken from various surfaces.