From the 11/27 Show – What Did Trader Joe’s Know About the Peanut Butter and Salmonella

Trader Joe’s has built its grocery store business based on uniqueness and integrity.  It takes pride in offering products that are environmentally friendly, shuns genetically modified food, and offers a selection of organic foods and vegetarian choices. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader_Joe’s

You are assured that Trader Joe’s doesn’t allow trans fats, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and GMO ingredients in their product offerings.  They are conscientious in making sure that the beef contains no pink slime and the fish are being caught from reputable sources. http://www.traderjoes.com/index.asp

However, Trader Joe’s apparently has nothing against Salmonella. The FDA shut down the Sunland Inc. manufacturing plant last week that was supplying peanut butter products to Trader Joe’s. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/sunland-peanut-butter-plant-fda_n_2194620.html   A number of salmonella poisonings were traced to the Trader Joe’s brand.

In response to a recall in September, the public has been led to believe that Trader Joe’s was an unwitting victim to the unsanitary conditions of the organic peanut butter processor.  Trader Joe’s pulled a number of peanut containing products off of their shelves from the Sunland facility and offered a refund on the day the FDA issued a press release to not eat the Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm320576.htm

The reality is that consumer complaints of illness coming from the Sunland facility date back to March, 2010:  “The previous inspection was conducted on 3/10/09 by FDA investigators and classified OAI (Official Action Indicated) due to positive environmental sample for Salmonella.  The purpose of the inspection was to:  follow-up on consumer complaints regarding illness related to Sunland, Inc. products;” http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofGlobalRegulatoryOperationsandPolicy/ORA/ORAElectronicReadingRoom/UCM324794.pdf

The 2010 inspection report had a number of manufacturing deficiencies concerning sanitation and Trader Joe’s continued to sell the Sunland products for an additional two years.  Most recently, 41 people in 20 states have reportedly been sickened from the Sunland products and the question remains how many more people have been sickened from the Trader Joe’s labeled products?

Is Trader Joe’s guilty of corporate malfeasance given the history of Sunland’s inspection history and is it an indication Trader Joe’s cares more about the bottom line than their customer’s health?

It is the radio show’s opinion that Trader Joe’s was grossly negligent on behalf of their customer.  A finding of salmonella over two years ago and little action by Trader Joe’s until another 41 people got sick?

The radio show has been highly critical of the FDA.  If Trader Joe’s did not know of the FDA report in 2010, the American public and their customer deserve an explanation.

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One Response to From the 11/27 Show – What Did Trader Joe’s Know About the Peanut Butter and Salmonella

  1. steve hayes says:

    Larry, a good article. It is time to shine the light on the companies that talk a good game but who are not willing to actually take the steps required to have a good game. Profits are very important but don’t say that you are an angel if you are just another guy.

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