The eastern New Mexico town of Portales is preparing for its 39th annual peanut festival this weekend. But the festivities may be overshadowed by anxiety over the shuttering of a local plant at the heart of a national peanut butter recall.
Officials with Sunland Inc., the nation’s largest USDA certified organic peanut processing plant, say they are scrubbing from top to bottom and hope to get some operations running within a week or two. But it could be two more months before they start making peanut butter again.
The plant makes nut butters for several major retailers. It was shut and more than 200 products recalled after salmonella was found in Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Thirty-five illnesses in 19 states have been linked to the product.