Last week, a federal Judge in Georgia set a trial date for four individuals
facing criminal charges in connection with a 2009
salmonella outbreak that caused nine deaths and made hundreds of individuals sick. Pursuant
to the Judge’s order, the trial will begin on February 10, 2014
at the U.S. District Court in Albany, Georgia.
Georgia’s Peanut Corporation of America was linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak
An investigation into the salmonella outbreak linked the deaths and injuries
to tainted product from Peanut Corporation of America, a company based
in Lynchburg, Georgia. Accordingly, the company’s owner, Stewart
Parnell and three other individuals who were responsible for management
of the peanut plant, Michael Parnell, Mary Wilkerson, and Samuel Lightsey
were charged with 72 counts in an indictment issued in February of this year.
Criminal charges were filed against the Corporation’s owner and three managers
The four defendants face charges including: conspiracy, mail fraud, wire
fraud, and introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate
commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. These charges are based
on allegations that peanut shipments from Peanut Corporation of America
tested positive for Salmonella beginning in 2003. Furthermore, the indictment
alleges that the defendants misled federal officials.
In 2010, Peanut Corporation of America entered into settlements for nine
wrongful death suits arising out of the salmonella outbreak. The corporation
went bankrupt shortly thereafter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 700 salmonella
infections were linked to the corporation’s processing plants in
Georgia and Texas.
One out of six Americans suffers from food contamination every year
The CDC estimates that nearly 48 million Americans get sick as a result
of contaminated food every year. In some instances, the foodborne illness
is part of a recognized outbreak. However, this is not always the case.
Salmonella poisoning is one of the most common causes of outbreaks
Among recognized outbreaks, salmonella poisoning is the second most common,
accounting for 30 percent of outbreaks. Furthermore, salmonella poising
lead to the greatest number of outbreak related
hospitalizations. Salmonella found in eggs, sprouts, and vine stalk vegetables caused the
greatest number of illnesses. Salmonella in sprouts and vine stalk vegetables
also lead to the greatest number of hospitalizations.
Outbreaks are often the result of mishandling at multiple points along
the food production chain. Furthermore, almost half of outbreaks are caused
by food consumed at either a restaurant or deli.
If you or a loved one have suffered illness as a result of a foodborne
illness or, if your loved one has died as a result of a foodborne illness,
you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the
circumstances of your case to determine is another party was liable for
your suffering. If so, an attorney can help you receive the compensation