State of Texas Fines Plainview Peanut Plant

Staff Report

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A state health agency has levied a $14.6 million fine against the Texas plant owned by a peanut company at the heart of a national salmonella outbreak.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday it was fining Plainview Peanut Co. LLC over alleged violations that include unsanitary conditions, product contamination, illnesses

linked to peanuts from the plant and operating without a food manufacturers' license.

The Plainview plant has been closed since Feb. 9. The plant's owner, Peanut Corp. of America, is blamed for an outbreak that has sickened nearly 700 people and is said to be the cause of at least nine deaths.

The state agency said it sent a notice of violation to the Plainview plant Wednesday.

Peanut Corp. has filed for bankruptcy, and the attorney handling its case didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.