ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The insurer of a Virginia peanut butter maker has filed suit to determine whether it must pay claims filed by victims of a nationwide salmonella outbreak.

Hartford Casualty Insurance Company filed suit Tuesday against Peanut Corp. of America in federal court in Lynchburg, where the company is based.

The company's plant in Blakely, Ga., has been identified as the sole source of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 550 people, eight of whom have died.

Hartford spokesman David Snowden said Thursday that the insurer wants the court to determine the extent of its obligation to Peanut Corp.

Hartford is asking the court to determine whether terms of the company's policy exclude coverage for salmonella claims.

Peanut Corp. officials were not immediately available for comment.

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