Peanut Plant Slapped With Record $14.6M Fine

Multiple safety violations found at plant linked to salmonella outbreak
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 3:16 AM CDT
The Peanut Corporation of America, owner of the Plainview plant, has filed for bankruptcy    (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A Texas peanut plant owned by the company blamed for a nationwide salmonella outbreak has been ordered to shell out $14.6 million for safety violations, AP reports. State officials levied the fine—the largest ever in Texas—for violations including unsanitary conditions, product contamination and operating without a license for four years.

Inspections at the plant turned up dead rodents in and near ventilation units, rodent dropping smeared on the walls, and a bird's nest inside the plant. The facility ceased production in mid-February and its owner, the Peanut Corporation of America, has filed for bankruptcy. Products from the Texas plant and one in Georgia are blamed for sickening 691 people, including 10 who died. (Read more salmonella stories.)