Salmonella-laced Peanut Butter Plant to Reopen

A peanut butter plant shuttered by a widespread salmonella outbreak has been given the go ahead to start harvesting a bumper crop of prized eastern New Mexico Valencia peanuts this week under an agreement that ends a tense, months-long standoff with federal regulators.

A consent decree filed in federal court Friday says Sunland Inc. can reopen its plant in Portales if it hires an independent expert to develop a sanitation plan, which then must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration

Conditions at the plant, which is the largest organic peanut butter producer in the country, 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.
 

US Soybeans Finding New Markets

The American Soybean Association International Marketing opened a new regional office in Dubai last week. ASA farmer-leader Alan Kemper participated:

“We kicked off programs and reviewed programs for the 2014 budget. We had a chance to address the commercial conference that had numerous soybean leaders.”

Kemper says the need for protein is growing in India – which will hopefully lead to an increase in their importing of U.S. soybeans in the next three-to-five years:
 

“North Africa has been a US soybean customer over the years. We also now will handle the regional areas for India, which has 53% of the population under the age of 25, with growing needs for protein and protein products. That will be a good market for US soybeans.”

Gas Prices May See a Hike

One expert says you can expect gasoline prices to start heading higher. From the Lundberg Survey – here's Trilby Lundberg:
 

“In the food chain, from crude oil to gasoline, the price that is coming to the pump, will be a bump in price probably in the next several days of maybe five to ten cents.”

Lundberg says the increase at the pump will end an eleven week drop of 58 cents a gallon… a gallon of gas dropping down to $3.26 a gallon.

Holiday Rush is Upon Us

Crowds of shoppers can be found just about anywhere these days.
 

“It’s the mad rush at stores and malls before Christmas. Says one consumer ‘I actually like coming out before Christmas you actually get better deals.’ Many retailers are offering big discounts and extended hours as they try to boost profits.”


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