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Peanut plant linked to outbreak can reopen

ALBUQUERQUE — A troubled New Mexico peanut butter plant that had its license yanked after being linked to a widespread salmonella outbreak reached a deal Friday to resume some operations on Wednesday under the eye of federal regulators.

A consent decree filed in federal court says Sunland Inc., the nation’s largest organic peanut butter producer, can reopen if it hires an independent expert to develop a sanitation plan, which then must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Conditions at the plant prompted the FDA in November to use new authority for the first time to revoke the company’s operating certificate without a court hearing.

The action came after the plant was linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened 42 people in 20 states this fall.

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