Stewart Parnell, former chief executive of Peanut Corp. of America
(PCA), has been sentenced to 28 years in prison following a conviction
on federal conspiracy and fraud charges for his part in a Salmonella
outbreak that killed nine people and sickened more than 700. U.S. v.
Parnell, No. 13-cr-0012 (M.D. Ga., Albany Div., order entered September
21, 2015).

“Americans should be able to trust that the food we buy for ourselves and
our families is safe,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery
in a September 21, 2015, press release. “The sentences handed down
today to officials associated with the Peanut Corporation of America
demonstrate the consequences for those whose criminal actions threaten
that trust by introducing contaminated food into the marketplace. Our
prosecution is just one more example of the forceful actions that the
Department of Justice, with its agency partners, takes against any individual
or company who compromises the safety of America’s food supply
for financial gain.”

Prosecutors sought a life sentence for the 61-year-old Parnell, who could
have received more than 800 years under sentencing guidelines. Fellow
executive Michael Parnell, Stewart’s brother, was previously sentenced
to 20 years, while former quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson
received a sentence of five years in prison. Stewart Parnell’s attorney
indicated he would appeal the sentence because the defense believes
the jury used unadmitted evidence in reaching its conclusion, including
information about the nine deaths. See Reuters, September 21, 2015.


Issue 579

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.