According to a statement from the United States Department of Justice issued this past Thursday, former top officials of the Peanut Corporation of America (“PCA”) have been criminally indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the 2009 salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanut products.
The federal indictment is charging the officials with fraud, conspiracy and the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce. The 52-page indictment contains 76 counts of illicit conduct on the part of Stewart Parnell, former president of the liquidated PCA, and three top-level managers.
President Barack Obama has taken personal note of the legal matter. The President is planning to conduct a thorough review of the federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The FDA was under intense scrutiny in 2009 for its inability to prevent the salmonella outbreak, and to effectively deal with its consequences.
The 2009 salmonella outbreak caused at least 700 cases of food-borne illnesses and no fewer than nine wrongful deaths.
PCA filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after the outbreak was found to have its source at PCA’s processing facilities in Texas and Georgia.
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