Million jars of peanut butter dumped in New Mexico

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2014 at 8:08 pm •  Published: March 28, 2014
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So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6 million, the estate paid about $60,000 to haul the 950,000 jars of nut butter — or about 25 tons — to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where public works director Clint Bunch says it "will go in with our regular waste and covered with dirt."

The last of 58 truckloads was expected Friday, the same day Golden Boy Foods of Canada was to close on its $26 million purchase of the plant.

Sunland made peanut butter under a number of different labels for retailers like Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe's, along with products under its own name. But the plant was shut down in September 2012 after its products were linked to 41 salmonella cases in 20 states.

It later reopened for about five months, but shut down last October after the company's Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Sunland processed Valencia peanuts, a sweet variety of peanut unique to the region and preferred for natural butters because it is flavorful without additives.

Sonya Warwick, spokeswoman for New Mexico's largest food bank, declined to comment directly on the situation, but she noted that rescued food accounted for 74 percent of what Roadrunner Food Bank distributed across New Mexico last year.

"Our fleet picks up rescued food from hundreds of locations weekly and brings it back to the food bank," she said. "Before distributing it, volunteers help label, sort or repack it for distribution to partner agencies across the state.

"Access to rescued food allows us to provide a more well-rounded and balanced meal to New Mexicans experiencing hunger."