The largest organic peanut butter processor in the United States has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, ending its existence.
Sunland Inc., the Portales, NM company linked to the September 2012 Salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states, said it was unable to recover from recalls of more than 100 organic peanut and nut butter products it made.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy means liquidation of the company, which says its liabilities are running close to $100 million to between 1,000 to 5,000 creditors, according to the bankruptcy filing. It’s assets fall far short of that in the $10 to $50 million range.
Jimmy Shearer, president and chief executive of Sunland, has not been available for comment on the company’s demise.
Employees learned Wednesday the organic business was closing down.
In a statement on her Facebook page, Portales Mayor Sharon King said Sundland was “an outstanding employer to our community for decades.” She said the city was going to suffer from the loss of tax receipts generated by the peanut processing company. The mayor asked for prayers for the Sunland families.
The company employed about 100 people in the small New Mexico city. The area’s economic development authority was anticipating the peanut company would be hiring 40 additional workers this year.
Valencia peanut growers in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico say Sunland’s demise means an immediate economic depression for them as they have no where to go to sell their current peanut crop. Some might quality for crop insurance payments, but they cannot sort that out until the federal government re-opens for business. Growers says Sunland was a well-run business that could not recover from being forced to close by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).© Food Safety News