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Fund OKd For Claims Against Va. Peanut Company

A $12 million fund is being created for claims against Peanut Corp. of America, the processor at the center of a nationwide salmonella outbreak this year.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William E. Anderson agreed Thursday to approve the fund, which is intended to settle claims by people sickened by peanuts traced to the company's Blakely, Ga., plant.

Bankruptcy trustee Roy Creasy said there are 114 claims, a number likely to rise as more claims are made. The outbreak sickened about 700 people and has been linked to at least nine deaths.

The money provided by Peanut Corp.'s insurers will be distributed based on the extent of victims' illnesses.

Some victims could still file lawsuits against firms that used the Lynchburg company's peanut butter and peanut paste.