Defunct peanut plant to be auctioned next week after 2012 Salmonella outbreak

In fall, 2012, 41 people in 20 states contracted Salmonella from natural and organic peanut butter, produced by Sunland Inc. of Portales, New Mexico, and primarily through purchases at Trader Joe’s.

By Nov. 2012, Sunland was eager to reopen, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had other ideas, and filed a permanent injunction against Sunland.

In May, 2013, Sunland announced it was back in production and company officials said their barf-inducing coveted natural and organic butters could be back on store shelves sunland_20120925084929_320_240within a month.

By Oct. 2013 they were bankrupt.

Food safety can do that to an operation.

Now, the plant is headed to the auction block.

According to the Associated Press, the reserve price for all bidders in Thursday’s auction is $18.5 million. That’s the amount California-based Ready Roast Nut Co. already has offered to buy the defunct Sunland Inc. plant.

The sale seemed imminent when a bankruptcy trustee backed Ready Roast’s offer. But the Clovis News Journal reports another potential buyer has emerged.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has scheduled a hearing Friday to accept or reject the best bid in the auction.