Sunland board to meet about plant’s future

Sunland Inc. is planning a board meeting Monday to talk about the company's fate, Spokeswoman Katalin Coburn said Friday.

The Portales peanut company is trying to recover after being linked to a recent national salmonella outbreak.

Coburn said to her knowledge there have been no layoffs and they company plans to move forward as they attempt to reopen the plant.

"We are attempting to start our peanut processing plant this week," Coburn said.

Recently the company denied allegations in a FDA report that accused them of distributing peanut and almond butters even after testing showed the products were contaminated.

Sunland Inc. President and CEO Jimmie Shearer took to Sunland's website to deny the allegation.

"At no time in its twenty-four year history has Sunland, Inc. released for distribution any products that it knew to be potentially contaminated with harmful microorganisms," Shearer said in a news release posted on the company's website. "In every instance where test results indicated the presence of a contaminant, the implicated product was destroyed and not released for distribution."

Sunland is the nation's largest organic peanut butter processor, though it also produces many non-organic products. The company recalled hundreds of nuts and nut butters in September and October after one of its products, Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter, was linked to 41 salmonella illnesses around the country.

Shearer said Sunland continues to cooperate openly with the FDA to address matters related to recent recall of its products and the inspection of its manufacturing facilities.

Sunland's plants remain shut down.

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