Costco Trashes 1M Perfectly Fine Jars of Peanut Butter
58 truckloads not allowed to go to food banks
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2014 1:24 AM CDT
Updated Mar 28, 2014 7:36 AM CDT
The Sunland Inc. peanut butter and nut processing plant in eastern New Mexico.   (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)

(Newser) – Almost a million jars of peanut butter are being trucked to a New Mexico landfill after Costco refused to either accept them or allow them to be donated to food banks. The peanut butter—made from $2.8 million worth of Valencia peanuts owned by Costco—is being dumped as part of the sale of a bankrupt plant linked to a huge peanut butter recall in 2012, reports the AP. Sunland, once the nation's largest producer of organic peanut butter, went bankrupt last year following the much publicized salmonella outbreak, and a Canadian company has snapped up the plant for $25 million, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The jars had been sitting in a warehouse since last fall, and while court filings say "all parties agreed there's nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue," Costco on March 19 said it had to be destroyed; the company previously determined the jars were "not merchantable" because of leaky peanut oil. The last of 58 truckloads of peanut butter is due to arrive at a landfill in Clovis today, where it will be covered in dirt. A spokeswoman for New Mexico's largest food bank declined to comment on the peanut butter dump, but noted that "rescued food" accounts for 74% of what it distributes. And the drama doesn't end there: The AP notes that a North Carolina company had won the first round of bidding for Sunland with a $20 million offer, only to be outbid by Golden Boy Foods just minutes before the court hearing that would have approved Hampton Farms' purchase; Hampton Farms is prepping for an appeal. (New Mexico landfills have been in the news lately.)

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Showing 3 of 117 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Mar 31, 2014 10:11 PM CDT
I had a 10 lb bag of fresh roasted unshelled peanuts from the plant in Texas that was owned by this company. It was a Christmas gift from a friend in the area. I had not yet dug into the bag when he called me and told me to toss them in the trash. I was so disappointed to get rid of these wonderful looking treats. He said it was most likely ok but the health department shut down the plant over mice droppings in the processing gear. It never reopened and about 100 Mexican Texans lost their jobs.
sugacan2
Mar 29, 2014 11:43 PM CDT
Please. Had Costco donated that peanut butter and someone got sick the comments here would be about the heartless, evil company that gave tainted peanut butter they wouldn't even stock in their own stores to the poor. Damned if they do and damned if they don't...
SallyAshus
Mar 29, 2014 9:58 PM CDT
The story contradicts the headline. Jars of peanut butter that are "leaking peanut oil" from a plant that had proven Salmonella contamination is NOT "perfectly fine." Maybe you haven't ever suffered Salmonella poisoning, or known a child who died from it, but I have both. CostCo is bearing the financial loss, not the general taxpayers. Many years ago, when I was in elementary school in Alabama, the local school district was instructed to heat and serve some prepared turkey and dressing meals that were of questionable quality. Since a significant proportion of the kids were eligible for free or reduced-priced school lunches, the school served the food, with the staff warning the children NOT to eat it! Half the kids at my school were sick before school dismissal! Would you want a repeat of that? I certainly regret that this food was landfilled: I live in an area where too many families and seniors are dependent upon food banks. (Did you know that many seniors are NOT ELIGIBLE for SNAP because of a categorical exclusion?) I applaud CostCo for putting public health ahead of their profit margin.