Former Peanut Corporation of America owner receives 28-year prison sentence.

  • As previously covered on this blog, the 2008-2009 Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products distributed by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) was one of the deadliest outbreaks in modern history.  The government brought a criminal prosecution against PCA executives and employees, alleging that they had knowingly introduced tainted food into interstate commerce.  In May 2015, a judge upheld convictions for Stewart Parnell (former PCA owner), Michael Parnell (former peanut broker), and Mary Wilkerson (former quality control manager).
  • On September 21, 2015, the three defendants were sentenced to prison.  Stewart Parnell received a groundbreaking 28-year sentence.  Michael Parnell and Mary Wilkerson received sentences of 20 years and 5 years, respectively.
  • The PCA saga and Stewart Parnell’s severe penalty highlight the significant costs and consequences that may be associated with the failure to address and contain a food safety problem.  Especially now that FDA has finalized rules to implement key food safety requirements under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), we expect that food safety will have the attention of corporate executives and boardrooms for quite some time to come.