by Marion Nestle
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.

  • 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,

    Keep blogging!

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

  • 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!

  • sp

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

  • Hi,

    My name is Paul Robinson, and I am an SEO Consultant.

    I hope you are doing well and have time to read my proposal.

    Advertising in the online world is one of the most inexpensive and highly effective methods of promoting a business

    We are a Leading Indian Based SEO & Web Development Company and one of the very few companies which offer organic SEO Services with a full range of supporting services such as one way themed text links, blog submissions, directory submissions, article writing and postings, etc.

    We are a team of 85+ professionals which includes 28 full time SEO experts. We are proud to inform you that our team handled 180+ SEO projects and obtained 100000+ manually built links in the past 1 year.

    Let me know if you are interested and I’ll present you with a proposal that would improve the sales of your products and brand your company.

    Feel free to contact me in case of any inquiry.Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!.

    Kind Regards
    Paul Robinson – Online SEO Consultant
    Email-Skype/Yahoo/Gtalk- fosterideaz
    Phone- 1-206-201-2433 (US)

    P.S. This is an advertisement and a promotional mail strictly on the guidelines of CAN-SPAM act of 2003. We have clearly mentioned the source mail-id of this mail, also clearly mentioned the subject lines and they are in no way misleading in any form. We have found your mail address through our own efforts on the web search and not through any illegal way. If you find this mail unsolicited, please reply with “Remove” in the subject line and we will take care that you do not receive any further promotional mail.

  • Pingback: Court asks for life in prison in peanut butter Salmonella case - Exploring the News()