On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it has suspended the food facility registration of peanut butter manufacturer Sunland. Because registration is required for a facility to manufacture, process, or otherwise work with foods intended for consumption in the U.S., suspension of the registration effectively prevents Sunland from operating.
The FDA made this decision based on Sunland's "history of violations," plus the most important finding that peanut butter from Sunland's plant has been linked to a salmonella outbreak that "has sickened 41 people in 20 states."
In a statement, the FDA pointed out that this suspension was the agency's first use of its registration suspension authority under the Food Safety Modernization Act. "This new authority," said FDA, "enables the agency to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and other conditions are met."
Sunland has the right to request an informal hearing at which it may challenge the suspension order. Absent such a request, or failing to persuade the FDA to lift its order, Sunland will need to implement a plan to correct existing, and prevent future, manufacturing defects before it can begin operating again.