Asshole knew he was selling salmonella tainted peanut products and did it anyway.

I haven’t written about it previously, but I’ve been following the peanut products tainted with salmonella outbreak closely since it started. I figured once it was traced back to the source it would be discovered that it was the result of incompetence or ignorance, but not outright criminal negligence. As it turns out I was wrong as the owner of Peanut Corp. of America, one Mr. Stewart Parnell, has been testifying thanks to a congressional subpoena. Emails and other documentation showed that after one lab said there was contamination of his products he hunted around for another lab to give them the all clear and then shipped the tainted products out:

“Turn them loose,” Parnell had told his plant manager in an internal e-mail disclosed at the House hearing. The e-mail referred to products that once were deemed contaminated but were cleared in a second test last year.

[…] The House panel released e-mails obtained by its investigators showing Parnell ordered products identified with salmonella to be shipped and quoting his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were “costing us huge $$$$$.”

Not that appearing before congress accomplished much as Parnell invoked the fifth amendment on every question:

“Did you or any officials ever place food products into interstate commerce you knew to be contaminated with salmonella?” asked Rep. Bart Stupak, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

“Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectively decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution,” said Parnell.

Moments later, as Parnell sat stiffly, his hands folded in his lap at the witness table, as Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held up a clear jar of his company’s products wrapped in crime-scene tape and asked if he would eat them.

Again, Parnell invoked the Fifth Amendment.

The rest of the article makes it clear this man was more concerned about making money than the health of the customers that would eventually consume his product. Rather than fix the problem he just found a lab that would clear the product:

Cowart said she made one visit to the plant at the company’s request and pointed out problems with peanut roasting and storage of peanuts that could have led to the salmonella. She testified that Peanut Corp. officials said they believed the salmonella came from organic Chinese peanuts.

An FDA inspection report had placed the earliest presence of salmonella in June 2007, the first of a dozen times the company received private lab results identifying the bacteria in its products.

Cowart said she believed Peanut Corp. stopped using her company for lab tests because it identified salmonella too many times.

The company’s internal records show it “was more concerned with its bottom line than the safety of its customers,” said committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

To date 600 people have contracted salmonella from products made from the tainted peanuts and 9 have died from it. Sales of peanut butter are down 25% since the outbreak started. The man should be locked up for a very long time and his company turned over to someone much more responsible.

11 thoughts on “Asshole knew he was selling salmonella tainted peanut products and did it anyway.

  1. The scariest part is that some people want no govt regulation of business, which would allow this behavior.  They should make him eat the peanut butter.

  2. Ragman, I agree.  A lot of ppl don’t want gvt regulation, but then people like this could do as they please with no consequences at all. 

    He is a disgrace…but not sure what should be done about him.  There are probably just as many out there like him that just haven’t been caught yet.

  3. SEB In my posted about this the other day I said I think these bastards (and they are really besmirching that honorable title) need to be charged with first degree murder (second at the least). Even though they could not know what specific individual would get sick they sure as hell knew that some would and a percentage of them would most likely die. In my books that makes it pre-meditated murder. Feed these pricks enough of their poisoned PB to kill them and let them die suffering like their victims did. Assholes one and all.

  4. The man should be forced to ingest PBJ sandwiches with salmonella-ridden peanut butter for the rest of his miserable life, which hopefully will be very short.

  5. This is one case where the Chinese have it right. A company exec. who knowingly breaks health and safety laws and distributes a product that can kill, is on a one way trip to murder charges.

    While I don’t agree with the death penalty, cooperate execs should pay for their greed.

    Was anybody from Ford prosecuted for not recalling the cars that exploded?
    Because they calculated it was cheaper to pay damages for the people killed and injured, then fix the cars.

  6. So, honestly, what do you guys think is going to actually happen to this guy?

    I bet nothing. Maybe a fine.

    But, if he had walked into a store and planted salmonella into ONE JAR, he would have been called a terrorist in the press, and perhaps rightly so.

    BUT, since he is a business person, he is a cultural elite, and is essentially untouchable!

    SICK

  7. This is one case where the Chinese have it right. A company exec. who knowingly breaks health and safety laws and distributes a product that can kill, is on a one way trip to murder charges.

    Parents express anger over China milk verdicts

    BEIJING: Angry parents of victims in China’s milk scandal accused the government Friday of holding show trials and giving little help to their sick children, after the high-profile sentencing of 21 people.

    A court in northern China on Thursday gave two men the death penalty and jailed 18 others for terms ranging from two years to life for their roles in the poisoning of milk last year with the industrial chemical melamine.

    Was anybody from Ford prosecuted for not recalling the cars that exploded?

    Not if it’s this case 1985 Ford Mercury Grand Marquis Exploding Gas Tank

    But there is also this case:
    Pinto Madness

  8. Classic sociopath disconnect: “…his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were ‘costing us huge $$$$$.’”

    Note that neither the contaminated food itself, nor the unknown source of the contamination is blamed, it’s the tests that are at fault.

    If the punishment were to fit the crime, he should be at very least convicted of manslaughter and made to burnish the prison kitchen with a tooth brush daily for the length of his sentence – with special attention given to the floor drains and grease traps of course.

  9. If he were sentenced to prison time, I’ve a feeling some inmates would find novel uses for peanut butter!  grin

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