But what will it do to peanut butter prices?

Even squirrels enjoy PB&J. Post file photo. N. Gerard

U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspended the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., Monday as the organic peanut butter maker and purveyor of other nut products continues to be unable to return to production after its products were linked to a salmonella outbreak.

The company, on its website, said it was disappointed in the FDA decision as it has been working with the agency to address the problem. It had hoped to begin production on Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3 and a senior member of a subcomittee overseeing food and drug safety, said the FDA should have acted faster as it was given the power to suspend registration last year.

“…I am disappointed that it took the FDA so long to act.  Time is of the essence when the public health is at stake and I expect in the future the FDA will act immediately to protect consumers,” DeLauro said in a release Tuesday.

Sunland began a voluntary recall in September of products from its New Mexico processing plant after an outbreak of salmonella across 20 states. The problem eventually sickened 40 people, including Connecticut,  according to Sunland’s website and DeLauro’s statement.

“The FDA’s announcement it has suspended Sunland’s food facility registration is good news for consumers.  Congress gave the FDA this authority in the Food Safety Modernization Act so it could protect the public from unsafe food being produced in facilities like this and I am pleased to see them act.  Americans should be able to buy a jar of peanut butter– or anything else—without worrying that it will sicken them or their children.

It’s an odd situation for consumers and nut butter makers. Peanut butter is a nearly a staple product and is found in most homes, but with the biggest organic sidelined, what will happen to prices? At the same time, the peanut butter makers have to be concerned people will find some other spread for their kids’ sandwiches for a while.

Hummus anyone?

Rob Varnon