Make Our Food Safe

Editorial: "Safe peanut butter and beyond"

Los Angeles Times | Editorial Board

"The bins of peanuts outside were uncovered, food safety inspectors reported, allowing birds to do on them what birds do. Employees failed to wash their hands regularly or to practice other basic hygiene. Salmonella was found in dozens of locations throughout the plant, which had shipped jars of peanut butter even though its own tests showed they were tainted with the potentially deadly bacteria. After more than 40 people were sickened, the plant closed voluntarily in September and the company's products were recalled. And yet Sunland Inc. announced plans to reopen the New Mexico facility, which sold organic peanut butter to Trader Joe's and other markets.

Citing the conditions at Sunland as well as its history of health violations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put at least a temporary hold on those plans Monday, suspending operations at the plant and exercising for the first time its new authority to shut down potentially dangerous food facilities. Luckily for consumers, this was made possible by the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law nearly two years ago — and long overdue even then. But other, much more sweeping changes required by the law haven't yet been implemented..."

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