Nearly one million jars of perfectly good peanut butter are being buried in a New Mexico landfill after Costco refused to take the shipment.
Sunland Inc., which manufactures the peanut butter under different labels for Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe’s, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last October after a salmonella outbreak shut down their plant in September 2012.
Costco took about eight loads of the peanut butter, but then rejected the rest. They said the products weren’t properly sealed and leaky peanut oil made them “not merchantable.”
"We considered all options," said bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll. "They didn't agree."
Coll said "all parties agreed there's nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue," but according to court records Costco “would not agree to any disposition … other than destruction.”
Costco wouldn’t return calls for comment from The Associated Press.
If the peanut butter was safe for human consumption, New Mexico food banks would have expected a hefty donation.
Road Runner Food Bank, the largest food bank in New Mexico, rescued so much in 2013 that it accounted for 74 percent of what they distributed across the state last year.
"Our fleet picks up rescued food from hundreds of locations weekly and brings it back to the food bank," said Road Runner spokeswoman Sonya Warwick. "Before distributing it, volunteers help label, sort or repack it for distribution to partner agencies across the state.”
"Access to rescued food allows us to provide a more well-rounded and balanced meal to New Mexicans experiencing hunger,” she said.
The last of the 58 truckloads of peanut butter are expected to arrive at the Curry County landfill in Clovis Friday.