Harshest Sentence Ever Delivered in Food-Safety Case: 28 Years in Prison

September 22, 2015

Former Peanut Corp. owner will go to prison for 28 years following a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people.

The harshest penalty ever delivered in a food-safety case was served yesterday to Stewart Parnell, the former owner of the now-obsolete Georgia-based peanut butter supplier Peanut Corp. Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison over a 2008–2009 U.S. salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and caused illness in hundreds of other consumers.

Two other executives at the company were also handed prison sentences, according to the Associated Press: Parnell’s brother, Michael Parnell, who served as a food broker for the company, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while company quality-control manager Mary Wilkerson was sentenced to 5 years in prison, reports NPR.

Stewart Parnell knew about the tainted peanut butter coming out of his factory and nonetheless proceeded to distribute it to U.S. food companies like Kellogg’s and to consumers.

According to the Associated Press:

Federal investigators found a leaky roof, roaches and evidence of rodents, all ingredients for brewing salmonella. They also uncovered emails and records showing food confirmed by lab tests to contain salmonella was shipped to customers anyway. Other batches were never tested at all, but got shipped with fake lab records saying salmonella screenings were negative.

 

Jennifer Grebow
Editor-in-Chief
Nutritional Outlook magazine
jennifer.grebow@ubm.com