"It is one of our bigger employers and so it not only affects this community, but it also effects our distributions and the exports that we do," said Layle Sanchez. She lives in Portales, New Mexico and is worried what the shut down will do to the community.
"Harvest did just end, and so I'm sure that has a huge impact on them trying to get the peanuts put up and processed for them to have to shut down, I'm sure is going to delay this years crop even more," said Sanchez.
In a month long investigation, the FDA found samples of Salmonella in 28 different locations in the plant.
According to Kenneth Kendrick, the FDA only had the ability to shut down this plant after what happened to Plainview based Peanut Corporation of America back in 2009.
"If the Food Safety Modernization act hadn't been passed, which was pretty much the result of Peanut Corp, the FDA would not have had the authority to close this plant," said Kendrick.
He's referring to a 2011 food safety law, which gives the FDA the ability to suspend a company's registration when food manufactured in a plant has a "reasonable probability" of causing health issues, like salmonella.
Peanut Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after they too had a salmonella outbreak in their peanut products.
"I know that Sunland provided organic peanuts to Peanut Corp and that was all over their shipping records and they were never looked at," said Kendrick. "The inspectors who looked at the Texas plant should have been able to follow the trail back in 2009 and prevent this from happening."
In a statement on the company's website, Sunland said "Sunland had hoped to recommence its shelling operation on November 26, 2012 and informed the FDA of the plan in a letter dated November 20, 2012. Sunland expected that any agency concerns with its plans would be part of the ongoing dialogue with the agency. The agency's order suspending Sunland's registration on November 26, 2012 was unexpected and the company is disappointed by this development."
Sunland also put out a statement saying "At no time in its twenty four year history has Sunland, Inc. released for distribution any products that it knew to be potentially contaminated with harmful microorganisms."
Other locals KLBK spoke with off camera in Portales said they were unhappy with the FDA's decision to step in, and that they hope everything is cleaned up and back to normal soon.
Sunland also told KLBK that the about 100 employees Sunland employs currently are still being paid, as they are now working to clean up the plant.