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

(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.)

The Sunland Inc. peanut butter and nut processing plant in eastern New Mexico.
The Sunland Inc. peanut butter and nut processing plant in eastern New Mexico.   (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)
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