These Charges Are Far From Peanuts: Lessons from the PCA

Facing over 70 felony counts, Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell and his brother Michael Parnell received sentences yesterday of 48 years in prison between them.

In 2009, more than 700 hundred people contracted Salmonella from an unknown food source, resulting in 9 deaths. It was later proven that the source of this outbreak was peanut butter and peanut paste produced at the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) processing plants in Blakely, GA and Plainview, TX. The initial source of the infection was attributed to unsanitary conditions found within the processing plants, such as leaks and roaches. The widespread effects of the recall that followed, the most extensive in American history, reached from peanut growers, who were estimated to have lost at least $1 billion in lost business, to over 300 food producers who used PCA peanut butter and paste in nearly 4000 products, to retailers facing a drop in peanut demand, and finally and tragically to the table of consumers.

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