FDA Shutdown of Organic Peanut Butter Plant

The government cracks down on Sunland Inc. after a salmonella outbreak.
2:23 | 11/27/12

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Transcript for FDA Shutdown of Organic Peanut Butter Plant
Thanks so much. Now, to the government shutdown of the biggest organic peanut butter plant in the company. It's the same company that made peanut butter that sickened people in 20 states this year. And it was all set to reopen today, until this drastic federal order. Abc's jim avila has the latest. Jim? Reporter: Good morning, amy. This is a new, much more aggressive side of the fda we're seeing. Making history, using new powers to shut down a business the government thinks is dangerous, without going to court. Fda inspectors describe a horror show of a peanut butter plant in new mexico. A facility with a history of trouble. This morning, now shut down after a widespread salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. The fda finding salmonella throughout. No hand-washing sinks. Leaks that left water accumulating on the floor. And open doors that could allow pests to enter. There was a reasonable possibility of serious injury or death to consumers from consuming products that were coming out of this facility. Reporter: This is the first time the fda has used new powers from a law passed just last year. To shutter a company it says is a continuing health risk. The government says it will not allow the country's largest organic peanut butter producer to reopen, until it says, sunland no longer has a reasonable probability of causing serious health consequences or death to humans. 8-year-old nate was one of those who ate sunland peanut butter sold at trader joe's. And feels he paid the price. It felt very painful. The stomach cramps. I was screaming loud. And I was saying, why does this happen to me? Reporter: And this morning, food safety groups are hailing the shutdown as a warning to food companies that the new power granted the fda is not just for show. This gives us hope that fda is prepared to act aggressively and protect consumers. Reporter: Perhaps the most serious charge is that sunland continued to sell salmonella-contaminated products after they failed tests for the disease. Sunland tells abc news, that's not true. Saying it did not knowingly sell tainted peanuts or peanut butter. And they're asking for an immediate hearing. The company says it continues the implementation of all corrective actions. But they will not reopen today, as planned.

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