- Former owner of Peanut Corporation of America Stewart Parnell may receive a life sentence after being convicted last year for knowingly shipping Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter from his Georgia plant, after which nine people died and 700 were sickened.
- "The U.S. Probation Office concluded that the scope of Parnell’s crimes--including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wire fraud--'results in a life sentence Guidelines range,'" Food Safety Magazine reported.
- The case is unprecedented, as there has not reportedly been this sort of federal felony conviction in relation to food safety, according to Food Safety Magazine.
The U.S. Department of Justice warned food companies earlier this month that they could face civil and criminal charges if their food makes people sick due to pathogen contamination.
Some still believe the proposed punishment for Parnell doesn't quite fit the crime. "We hope the judge will see that Stewart Parnell never meant to hurt anyone," Ken Hodges, one of Parnell’s defense attorneys said. "He ate the peanut butter himself. He fed it to his children and to his grandchildren."
Parnell's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, which will be decided by a federal judge in Albany, GA.