Sunland was the largest organic peanut butter processor in the U.S., producing roughly 240 products for retailers including Costco, Kroger, and Trader Joe's. Unfortunately, Sunland initiated a recall in 2012 after a salmonella outbreak was linked to its products.
The FDA later suspended Sunland's registration in November of 2012. Last year, it filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and sold the processing plant to Golden Boy Foods for $26 million.
According to the Associated Press, the massive dumping this week was intended to speed up the sale of the plant. Court documents revealed that the nuts used on the products were owned by Costco. Costco previously agreed to sell or donate the peanut butter to food banks, but later recanted due to leaky peanut oil.
According to a court filing, Costco reportedly said that "it would not agree to any disposition other than destruction."
The dumping shocked many people in New Mexico. One of them is MelindaJoy Pattison, the Executive Director of Eastern New Mexico's Food Bank. Pattison said that there was nothing wrong with the peanut butter, adding that they could have found a way to store it, remove the labels and distribute it to the people who depend on the food bank.
"For it to just be deliberately thrown away is disappointing," she told the Associated Press.
Thousands of New Mexicans rely on rescued food from the Food Bank. Peanut butter, for example, is a major source of protein for the hungry and the needy. Costco declined to comment on the report.