Judge upholds convictions of defendants in Peanut Corporation of America case.

  • In 2008-2009, peanut products distributed by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) were linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened over 700 people and caused 9 deaths across 46 states.  The government brought a criminal prosecution against PCA executives and employees, alleging that they had knowingly introduced tainted food into interstate commerce.  In September 2014, three key defendants were convicted of a host of criminal charges.
  • In May 2015, a judge upheld the three defendants’ convictions after considering a series of post-trial motions for acquittal and dismissal, as well as a request for a new trial.  The ruling means that the convictions of Stewart Parnell (former PCA owner), Michael Parnell (former peanut broker) and Mary Wilkerson (former quality control manager), will stand.  The Parnells’ convictions are sufficient to send the brothers to prison for the rest of their lives, while Wilkerson’s conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • The PCA-related Salmonella outbreak was one of the deadliest in modern history.  The severe criminal penalties that the defendants now face are indicative of the potential consequences that food companies — as well as their executives and employees — may face in the wake of food safety crises.