Consumers who prefer organic peanut butter might want to stock up before supplies dwindle.
The Food & Drug Administration has yanked the production license of Sunland, which controls 90% of the organic peanut harvest, after a salmonella outbreak was linked to peanut butter produced at its Portales, N.M., production facility, USA Today notes.
After an FDA review discovered salmonella contamination in 28 areas of the production plant, in addition to evidence of unclean equipment and unsafe materials handling, the agency ordered the plant closed. The FDA can close noncompliant plants under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Organic peanut butter already produced at the facility was destroyed, while the fate of a large inventory of organic peanuts remains uncertain.
Some retailers expect the supply of organic peanut butter to contract sharply in the near future. However, Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM), which sells organic peanut butter, indicated that it had not yet experienced a shortage.
Organic peanut butter accounts for just 1% of all peanut butter sold in the U.S. annually.
Sunland issued a statement denying that it had ever knowingly distributed contaminated products. The salmonella outbreak led to illness in 41 people.