A federal jury convicted the owner of a peanut plant and two others Friday in connection with a salmonella outbreak that prompted one of the largest U.S. food recalls, sickened hundreds across the country and was linked to nine deaths.
Experts say the trial in Albany, Georgia, marked the first time executives and plant workers were tried in a food poisoning case. Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell was convicted on counts including conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice related to shipping tainted peanut butter and faking results of lab tests for salmonella. His brother, Michael Parnell, was found guilty on multiple charges related to the false lab results, and Mary Wilkerson, the plant's quality assurance manager, was found guilty of obstruction of justice for hiding information about the salmonella problems. All three will be sentenced later.
Prosecutors accused the Parnell brothers of shipping tainted peanuts and peanut butter five years ago and covering up lab tests showing positive results for salmonella. Peanut Corporation's products were used as ingredients in crackers and other snacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 714 people in 46 states were infected and nine people died.
- Salmonella Found at Georgia Plant as Early as 2006
- Peanut Butter Scare Closes Another Plant
- The 10 Riskiest Foods in America
-The Associated Press