Deal reached to reopen NM peanut butter plant

JERI CLAUSING Associated Press Published:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Federal officials and the eastern New Mexico peanut butter plant that was shuttered after a salmonella outbreak have reached an agreement that will allow the plant to reopen.

A consent decree filed Friday in federal court says Sunland Inc. can resume operations if it hires an independent expert to help it develop and implement a sanitation plan that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Conditions at the plant prompted the FDA in November to for the first time use new authority to revoke the company's operating certificate.

The plant was shuttered and hundreds of its products recalled this fall after a salmonella outbreak that sickened 42 people in 20 states.