Worker laid off at New Mexico peanut butter plant

Worker laid off at New Mexico peanut butter plant after FDA closes it down

Associated Press
Peanut butter plant closure angers New Mexico town
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This Nov. 27, 2012 photo shows the Sunland Inc. peanut butter and nut processing plant in eastern New Mexico, near Portales, which has been shuttered since late September due to a salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, suspended the registration of Sunland Inc., which is the country's largest organic peanut butter processor. FDA officials found salmonella in numerous locations in Sunland's processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, most of them children, were sickened by peanut butter manufactured at the Portales, N.M., plant and sold at the Trader Joe's grocery chain. The company had announced plans to reopen its peanut processing facility on Tuesday after voluntarily shutting down earlier this fall. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)

PORTALES, N.M. (AP) -- A peanut butter plant along the New Mexico-Texas border has laid off a third of its 150 workers after federal authorities shuttered the plant.

A salmonella outbreak traced to the peanut butter has sickened 41 people in 20 states.

Millions of pounds of the regions prized sweet Valencia peanuts sit in barns at the Sunland peanut butter plant.

Farmers are worried about getting paid. And residents wonder what toll the shutdown will have on the region's economy.

The tension boiled over on Monday, when the Food and Drug Administration suspended Sunland's registration to operate because of repeated safety violations. It came just as the plant was set to resume shelling the bumper crop.

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