Bad news for execs linked to salmonella outbreak

The owner of a peanut butter company and 3 other former employees face criminal charges in connection with the 2009 incident.

By Kim Peterson Feb 21, 2013 2:25PM
Stewart Parnell, owner and president of the Peanut Corporation of America, during a committee hearing on February 11, 2009 ( Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
 Stewart Parnell has waited for years to see if the federal government would go after him for a nationwide salmonella outbreak that allegedly began at his company. Tuesday, he got his answer.

A federal grand jury has indicted Parnell (pictured), who owned the Peanut Corp. of America, along with his brother and two other former employees. The company is considered to be ground zero for a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and made hundreds of others ill, according to The Associated Press.

The indictment charges the four employees with numerous offenses, including conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Parnell's company has gone bankrupt after several lawsuits from salmonella victims.

It all started in 2009, when the Food and Drug Administration discovered salmonella in a jar of peanut butter from Parnell's company. The agency went to the company's Georgia factory and found more traces of salmonella, according to The News & Advance newspaper in Virginia.

The discovery led to thousands of recalled products, including pet food and Easter candy. And the focus soon turned to Parnell and whether he knew he was selling tainted products.

Parnell's lawyer, Bill Gust, claims Parnell knew some samples had tested positive for salmonella but only cleared products for sale after subsequent tests came back negative, according to the newspaper.

Gust told the newspaper that Parnell was a victim, a target for politicians and salmonella victims who wanted someone to blame. "Stewart was simply grist for the political mill," he added.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 21, 2013 3:15PM
He knowingly packaged and sold tainted product and people died. The height of greed and arrogance. Lock him up and throw away the key.
Feb 21, 2013 4:29PM

A 76-count indictment that alleges conspiracy and wire fraud going back to 2003 is a serious charge.  Add on obstruction of justice and you've got yourself a serious problem.  And it didn't help that the inspectors found remarkably bad conditions, including mold and roaches, at his peanut processing plant.


Sounds like these guys are in a heap of trouble.  Did anyone ever explain to them that what happens in the Internet stays on the Internet?  Apparently the feds found communications between these four going back to June 2003 discussing shipping products even after they tested positive for salmonella.  Not nice!


This is the sort of stuff and can get you locked up for years.  If they're found guilty, then I hope it's for a lot of years because they're responsible for the deaths of at least nine innocent people!

Feb 21, 2013 4:30PM

BEFORE they put the bastards in prison for LIFE...

TAKE EVERYTHING...They have and everything they ever got..Throw their families in the street with Scarlet letters on them...Then these rich scumbags will think twice..


Make sure and get all there Foreign holdings also, including Villas in the Caribbean.


It's very apparent I have No Mercy for any of these people..If they are crooks.

And they usually only get slapped on the wrist or maybe a head tap.

Feb 21, 2013 4:34PM
that's the trouble with companies now, it's all about profits and to hell with the consumers. Greed unmitigated greed!!!
Feb 25, 2013 11:15AM
Shame on them! May they rot in jail!
Feb 22, 2013 8:09PM
This trash should never get away. Or out. I am so glad the chickens are coming home for this scuz. It was a leak in the roof dripping into his machines. He knew this and still sold poison to children. We could bring back the stocks for this bum.  I wonder why so long?
Feb 21, 2013 4:21PM
Feb 25, 2013 4:08PM
better yet, lock all 4 of them up and only let them eat tainted peanut butter
Feb 21, 2013 4:36PM

I hope they lock him up forever.


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