"FDA Halts Operations at Peanut Butter Plant"

"The Food and Drug Administration halted operations of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor Monday, cracking down on salmonella poisoning for the first time with new enforcement authority the agency gained in a 2011 food safety law."

"FDA officials found salmonella all over Sunland Inc.'s New Mexico processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, most of them children, were sickened by peanut butter manufactured at the plant in Portales and sold by Trader Joe's grocery chain. The FDA suspended Sunland's registration Monday, preventing the company from producing or distributing any food.

The food safety law gave the FDA authority to suspend a company's registration when food manufactured or held there has a 'reasonable probability' of causing serious health problems or death. Before the food safety law was enacted early last year, the FDA would have had to go to court to suspend a company's registration.

Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, said the agency's ability to suspend a registration like this one is a major step forward for the agency."

Mary Clare Jalonick reports for the Associated Press November 26, 2012.
 

Source: LA Times, 11/27/2012