According to news reports, Stewart Parnell, ex-owner of the Peanut Corporation of America, and his brother Michael, a former food broker for the company, have been given long prison sentences in the USA for their part in a fatal outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infection.
The outbreak occurred in 2008-2009 and affected more than 700 people across 46 states. About 24% of those affected required hospital treatment and the infection is thought to have contributed to nine deaths.
The outbreak investigation identified a link with peanut butter and other peanut products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America for use as ingredients in a range of other products.
Inspections at the company’s production facility in Blakely, Georgia, revealed multiple hygiene failures, including a leaking roof and evidence of vermin. It was then discovered that managers at the plant had falsified food safety certificates for batches of product that had not been tested, or was known to be contaminated.
The Parnell brothers were found guilty of knowingly shipping tainted products last year, but have now been sentenced. Stewart Parnell will serve 28 years and Michael 20. Former quality control manager Mary Wilkerson has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for her part in the outbreak.
More information can be found here.