Tags: guilty | peanut | salmonella | outbreak

Peanut Company Officials Guilty in Deadly Salmonella Outbreak

Friday, 19 Sep 2014 06:54 PM

Three former peanut company officials were found guilty on Friday in connection with a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, federal prosecutors said.

The contamination at the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history and forced the company into liquidation.

"The defendants made a decision that they were more interested in hefty profits than in healthy peanut products," Georgia-based U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said to reporters after the verdict was announced.

Former company owner Stewart Parnell and his brother, Michael Parnell, a food broker who worked on behalf of the company, were found guilty of conspiracy, while Stewart Parnell and the plant's quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, were found guilty of obstruction.

In a trial that lasted seven weeks, federal prosecutors asserted that the Parnell brothers covered up the presence of salmonella in the company's peanut products for years, going so far as to create fake certificates showing the products were uncontaminated even when laboratory results showed otherwise.

Sentencing will be in two to three months, Moore said, with the Parnell brothers facing the possibility of the rest of their lives in prison and Wilkerson facing up to five years behind bars.

Scott Austin, attorney for Stewart Parnell, expressed disappointment in the verdict and said his client would appeal.

The Parnells were also both convicted of several counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Three former peanut company officials were found guilty on Friday in connection with a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, federal prosecutors said.The contamination at the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, led to...
guilty, peanut, salmonella, outbreak
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2014-54-19
Friday, 19 Sep 2014 06:54 PM
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