Salmonella Outbreak Leads DOJ to File Charges Against Peanut Butter Exec
The former executive of the now-closed Peanut Corporation of America and three employees are facing felony charges related to the salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds.
A 76-count indictment has been leveled against former Peanut Corporation of America head Stewart Parnell, and three employees alleging the group knowingly released peanut products tainted with salmonella and causing a salmonella outbreak, into the food supply on at least 12 occasions during 2007 and 2008, leading to the deaths of nine people and making at least 700 people sick.
The indictment charges the four with committing wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and introducing adulterated food into the market. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Peanut Corporation of America sold tainted peanut butter and peanut paste to companies that made human and pet foods. Over 2,000 products were recalled because of salmonella contamination, leading to the company filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
The Department of Justice accuses the company of not only failing to notify its customers when salmonella was found through lab tests, it also lied about lab test results saying its products were not contaminated when tests showed they were or when no tests had been done, the WSJ reports. The DOJ “will not hesitate to pursue any person whose criminal conduct risks the safety of Americans who have done nothing more than eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Delery said
Read more: https://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2013/02/21/former-peanut-butter-execs-in-federal-indictment-over-salmonella-outbreak-fraud/#ixzz2M1vb9Q00
The son of a North Carolina woman who died after eating salmonella tainted peanut butter said he was “ecstatic” about the charges against Peanut Corporation of America. “I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come,” he told the WSJ.
Major Food Poisoning Outbreaks
A recent spate of contaminated food outbreaks has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to implement stronger food safety guidelines and develop a more pro-active approach to preventing further outbreaks.
Since 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WSJ, consumers in the US have been victim to several serious food poisoning/ salmonella outbreaks including:
- 2008- Peanut Corp. of America salmonella outbreak which killed 9 and sickened 700
- 2010- Salmonella tainted eggs shipped from Iowa, which sickened 1,900
- 2011- Colorado cantaloupes tainted with listeriosis which killed 33 people
- 2012 – Sunland Inc., peanut butter contaminated with Salmonella which sickened 42 people
The federal government is investigating the Iowa eggs and Colorado cantaloupe food poisoning cases, while officials shut Sunland Inc down until its safety problems are corrected.
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