FDA Shuts Down Peanut Butter Plant

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a New Mexico peanut butter plant that had repeated food safety violations over several years, using a new authority to halt operations at facilities that may be producing unsafe food.

The FDA on Monday suspended the registration of Sunland Inc., the country's largest organic peanut butter processor. FDA officials found salmonella all over Sunland Inc.'s processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, most of them children, were sickened by peanut butter manufactured at the plant and sold at Trader Joe's grocery chain. The company had announced plans to reopen its peanut processing facility on Tuesday.

The agency gained the new authority to suspend companies' registrations in a food safety law signed by President Barack Obama in early 2011.

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