Feb 21 2013

Grand jury indicts Peanut Corporation of America officials

The wheels of justice really do grind slow, but they sometimes do grind.  A federal grand jury has indicted four officials of the Peanut Butter Corporation of America for “conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and others offenses related to contaminated or misbranded food.”

Translation: Salmonella that sickened more than 500 people and killed at least 8.

The documents in the case have just been unsealed:

I’ve been following this particular food safety tragedy for several years now.  The offenses were so egregious—officials blatantly ignored positive tests for Salmonella, for example—that some kind of punishment seemed warranted.

According to the account in USA Today:

The indictment alleges that PCA officials affirmatively lied to their customers about the presence of salmonella in PCA’s products,” said Stuart Delery, principal deputy assistant attorney general.

Delery also said some officials at PCA, no longer in business, fabricated lab results certifying to customers that the products were salmonella free “even when tests showed the presence of salmonella or when no tests had been done at all.”

As lawyer Bill Marler writes,

These indictments will have a far reaching impact on the food industry.  Corporate executives and directors of food safety will need to think hard about the safety of their product when it enters the stream of commerce.  Felony counts like this one are rare, but misdemeanor charges that can include fines AND jail time can and should happen.

Is this a sign that courts might be taking food safety problems more seriously?  If so, it’s about time.

Addition, February 22:  Food Safety News has a handy timeline of the Peanut Corporation events.

  • Laura Collins

    This is horrible. Sometimes I wonder how people could put other is so much danger. I just hope this gets better in the future.

  • http://be-fit-challenge.com Melanie Legaspi

    Hi Marion,

    This is actually an interesting article. Now that I have taken my fitness goals more seriously I became more aware of what I’m consuming and how much. Now-a-days its hard to trust certain food products because of scary outbreaks like salmonella…or even horse meat!

    Thanks for sharing some important info., also feel free to visit me on my blog, http://be-fit-challenge.com.

    Keep blogging!

  • http://befittacomabootcamp.com/ Lakewood fitness

    Very interesting info!It will be a great knowledge to us and thank you so much for sharing this valuable information with us.

  • http://www.ambrosialgranola.com Hariclia Makoulis

    We are so thankful Marion for being a fervent advocate of everything related to food and for being vigilant and sharing with us important information! Our food world feels safer with your presence…
    Thank you!

  • http://www.naturalskinproduct.org/ sp

    Thanks for this article! I found it really interesting read! People have become more aware of what they eat.

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