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Former peanut exec gets 28 years in prison for Salmonella outbreak

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posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 08:31 AM
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www.fox9.com...

Didn't see this on the site, I skimmed the new topics and did a few searches for some keywords as well as the execs name. I see there was a brief thread about this initially back when it started about a year and a half ago.

So it looks like this guy had the book thrown at him, which I think is fantastic. It goes against what commonly seems to happen with our justice system. Where the wealthy or connected are able to wiggle their way out.

I haven't followed this too closely, but if the man's actions led to the deaths of people then he should be held accountable. Thankfully, he was. So apparently there still are some cases where the justice system works. Hopefully this will also make it more common in the future to hold those at the top responsible for their actions and the negative outcomes that result from them.




posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 08:36 AM
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a reply to: MisterSpock

I'm really surprised this was the outcome of it. Very nice to see some accountability - unfortunately it still won't bring those people back :/



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 08:47 AM
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In my opinion he should have been charged with murder one. He knowingly and willingly committed actions that led to the deaths of people. They should have given him 99 years and a day.



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 08:51 AM
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originally posted by: Gothmog
In my opinion he should have been charged with murder one. He knowingly and willingly committed actions that led to the deaths of people. They should have given him 99 years and a day.


I agree, though I wonder if it was a case of charging him with crimes that they knew would have a higher chance of conviction.

They had charged him with enough to get a conviction of 28 years, it may have been possible that charging him with 9 counts of murder would have resulted in a loss for the prosecution.

I don't know, I'm no lawyer, but the connection may have been harder to make. At least the man is paying for his crimes, even if it's not the ones we would have liked him to be convicted of.



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 08:52 AM
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originally posted by: FamCore
a reply to: MisterSpock

I'm really surprised this was the outcome of it. Very nice to see some accountability - unfortunately it still won't bring those people back :/


Yeah me too, I wonder if one of the victims was related to someone well connected.

Although, I can see where even the TPTB would want to make sure things like this don't happen with the food supply that they might be eating from aswell.

Even criminals have some standards they go by.
edit on 54930America/ChicagoTue, 22 Sep 2015 08:54:00 -0500000000p3042 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: MisterSpock

Thank goodness the FDA prevented this disaster or was responsible for identifying and apprehending the culprits or propagating best practices throughout the industry.

Wait, sorry, my bad.



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 12:19 PM
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I have enclosed several snips from various sites regarding this outbreak. I'm enthused about the fact that not only one, but several, executives were criminally charged, prosecuted and convicted for these horrendous crimes. It leaves me bereft as to why there are no charges against the FDA inspectors responsible for quality control errors and omissions from Peanut Corporation of America. It also begs the questions of what fines or penalties were enacted, why were they allowed to continue in operation of obvious sanitation violations that did not appear overnight. This was a big fail by ALL responsible parties. And as such, punishment should be broad reaching to all departments responsible for lack in proper overseeing to our foodstuffs.


Parnell’s now-bankrupt company, based in Virginia but with a production plant in Georgia, once touted its “remarkable food-safety record.” But in reality its own internal tests turned up salmonella contamination a half-dozen times in 2007 and 2008, according to investigators. Parnell approved shipments despite such warnings.

Investigators documented a litany of unsanitary conditions at the plant, including mold, roaches, dirty equipment, holes big enough to allow rodents inside and a failure to separate raw and cooked products. They also unearthed e-mails that showed Parnell hastily approving shipments he knew might be contaminated.

www.washingtonpost.com... ckened-hundreds/2015/09/21/aba7500e-60a7-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html

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Parnell, 61, was found guilty of more than 70 felony counts in the tainted peanut butter case out of Blakely stemming from a salmonella outbreak traced to the plant in 2009.

Two more executives, Michael Parnell, 56, and quality control manager Mary Wilkerson, 41, were also sentenced Monday. Michael Parnell was sentenced to 20 years, and Wilkerson was sentenced to five years.

***SNIP***

Two other former PCA workers, Samuel Lightsey and Daniel Kilgore, agreed to cooperate with the government and are to be sentenced separately at a later date.

“The evidence of his crimes is overwhelming. Stewart Parnell knew he had a problem and he knew about everything that went on in that plant,” Dasher said. “We presented email evidence from quality assurance as far back as 2003 that read ‘we have a cross contamination issue in the plant. When told of a rodent problem in the plant his response was to ‘clean (the peanuts) up and ship them.’

www.gwinnettdailypost.com...

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Georgia[edit]

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors reported, following a two-week inspection of the Blakely, Georgia, plant in January 2009, that the company had information that its peanut-butter products were tainted with salmonella but shipped them anyway after "re-testing" them. This occurred at least 12 times in 2007 and 2008.[29][30][31][32][33] FDA inspectors also found mold growing on the plant's ceiling and walls, foot-long gaps in its roof, dead insects near peanuts, and holes in the plant big enough for rodents to enter. Inspectors found that the company also did not clean its equipment after finding contamination, and did not properly segregate raw and finished products.

Texas[edit]

The company's plant in Plainview, Texas, which opened in March 2005 and employed 30 people, was never licensed in that state as a food manufacturing facility; the state had not done any inspections until the problems with the Georgia plant became news.[54] The Texas plant blanched, dry- and oil-roasted, and chopped peanuts, then shipped them to food companies across the country. The Texas inspection in January 2009 found some unsanitary conditions, such as unclean sections of a peanut-roasting line. It also reported that several internal company laboratory tests dating back to November had found no salmonella or other contaminants.[54] However, on February 10, 2009, company officials announced that the Texas plant has been shut down, after samples taken on February 4 tested positive for salmonella.[55][56] Former workers at the Texas plant interviewed by the New York Times said that the facility was "disgusting". It said the plant shared many of the problems found in the plant in Georgia, including a badly leaking roof and rodent infestation.[57] A former plant manager told Good Morning America that he had repeatedly complained to the company owner, Stewart Parnell, about unsanitary conditions, including "water leaking off a roof and bird feces washing in", but Parnell would not authorise money for necessary repairs.[58]

en.wikipedia.org...

*************************

The AP notes that going back as far as 2001, "about nine months after Parnell bought the Georgia plant in 2001, potential insecticide contamination and dead insects were found near peanuts inspected by the Food and Drug Administration." This was the beginning of a pattern of code violations, culminating in the inspection records released Friday by the FDA, showing that "in 2007 the company shipped chopped peanuts on July 18 and 24 after salmonella was confirmed by private lab tests."

honolulu.legalexaminer.com... g-retest-results/



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 12:53 PM
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a reply to: MisterSpock

Wow that is a severe punishment. have you guys ever heard of the Walkerton Ontario water incident?

The water plant operators were found negligent and withheld life saving sample information from the public that lead to a few deaths and the whole city getting very sick with gastrointestinal problems. The boss there only got 1 year prison and a minor probation. That was for 7 death! He deserved so much more! E.coli can cause long term kidney damage so the long term effects on those poor people haven't even surfaced yet

www.cbc.ca...
edit on 22-9-2015 by Athetos because: Broken link still broken


edit on 22-9-2015 by Athetos because: Fixed?

edit on 22-9-2015 by Athetos because: More Walkerton info



posted on Sep, 22 2015 @ 11:42 PM
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I've been in the peanut industry for nearly ten years. I am very glad to see this dude go to prison. His decision to be a douche and choose profit over common sense has made the lives of my coworkers and I a living hell.

We now must apply the principles of HACCP to a process that does not need it. His actions have added a mountain of paperwork to what was a simple process than never involved a kill step. Also, we are a raw processor. We have a third party accreditation that audits us like we are enriching uranium or some crap.

I hate this man. Good riddance to him. Thanks for screwing up an entire industry, and not just peanut butter manufacturers.

But just so you all know. Public outcry can accomplish new regulation, and increase accountability, but it is thrown like a wet blanket across an entire industry and not just the douche that screwed up. So yea, I'm happy to see this guy punished, but at great personal cost to myself.



posted on Sep, 23 2015 @ 01:13 AM
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Why do I get the feeling this is a scandal of some sort of maybe he broke the code or something.



posted on Sep, 23 2015 @ 02:33 AM
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Obviously, this guy didn't make the correct "political contributions". Support your local politicans guys, it'll keep you out of jail.



posted on Sep, 23 2015 @ 09:11 AM
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originally posted by: Bobaganoosh
I've been in the peanut industry for nearly ten years. I am very glad to see this dude go to prison. His decision to be a douche and choose profit over common sense has made the lives of my coworkers and I a living hell.

We now must apply the principles of HACCP to a process that does not need it. His actions have added a mountain of paperwork to what was a simple process than never involved a kill step. Also, we are a raw processor. We have a third party accreditation that audits us like we are enriching uranium or some crap.

I hate this man. Good riddance to him. Thanks for screwing up an entire industry, and not just peanut butter manufacturers.

But just so you all know. Public outcry can accomplish new regulation, and increase accountability, but it is thrown like a wet blanket across an entire industry and not just the douche that screwed up. So yea, I'm happy to see this guy punished, but at great personal cost to myself.


Pretty interesting to hear the opinion of someone in the industry, thanks for chiming in. Unfortunately I can see how this could ripple outward and cause massive headaches for those that were already properly conforming to existing safety and manufacturing standards.

Sadly, the governments reaction to failed policy is normally to implement more and increasingly complex policy. Sorry for your troubles, this whole thing really is nuts.



posted on Sep, 23 2015 @ 12:01 PM
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You know, there is another angle to consider.

This is my own supposition mind you.

The peanut industry as a whole, is the last of the "old school" agricultural processes, to my knowledge. We still set aside a percentage of the harvest for next year's seed. Bio-tech companies, though in the loop, do not yet have a marketable GMO peanut variety. In fact, there is recent development of "the original" peanut brought over to the US from Africa. Viable germ was discovered in the vaults of one of the Carolina Universities. This was used to bring back a small but very flavorful peanut. This was thought to be extinct since the mid 50's.

So instead of moving on into the franken-future of agriculture, we have clung strong to the past. We take pride that we still do things the old ways.

Where things got messed up along the way, is radiation was used to mutate the peanut into the large, near flavorless varieties that we have now. But hopefully this mistake will soon be rectified.

One could view the seemingly harsh punishment, and increased scrutiny of the peanut industry, as furthering the agenda of agricultural tyranny by the big boys.

Just food for thought.



posted on Sep, 23 2015 @ 12:28 PM
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When will we see this start happening to bankers?
Their actions kill far more people and they do it
with full knowledge of their actions.
This guy killed people, simple as that.
He deserved life or the death sentence himself.
He killed people and could have killed more
and truth is he could have cared less about who died.
He thought he would be immune to any prosecution,
he should have maybe called on affluenza for his defense.

-Toy the Bear
edit on 23-9-2015 by TOYBEAR because: God asked me to.



posted on Sep, 24 2015 @ 08:31 AM
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a reply to: TOYBEAR

I agree, and hopefully this case might help in the future with others.

I haven't followed it closely, but it seems like there may be a few GM execs who should have their feet put to the fire over the ignition debacle that killed quite a few people.

Then again, maybe this was just a incident isolated to this industry. Reading Bobaganoosh's post above, I wouldn't put it past big ag to be behind such a thing.



posted on Sep, 24 2015 @ 10:18 PM
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a reply to: MisterSpock

It is not an isolated incident. Sunland is another peanut butter manufacturer. It screwed up a year or two ago, but not to the malicious extent of PCA. The difference is that when Sunland screwed up, a precedent was set where the FDA fired the management of the company and took over. They ran the company. Nothing like that had happened before.

Keep in mind that prescription drugs kill exponentially more people than food born illness, but the FDA chose to exercise their newly acquired authority over a small time peanut butter manufacturer. They dare not darken the door of pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Everybody learns how to catch perch first, but unlike a true sport that moves on to more elusive game, the FDA is satisfied with catching perch... I guess it makes sense to somebody that realizes the world is full of perch, but only a few trophy fish.
edit on 24-9-2015 by Bobaganoosh because: (no reason given)



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