The current salmonella outbreak affecting the U.S., allegedly borne by garden cucumbers and Chipotle tomatoes, continues to ruin our burritos and salads. But it looks as though one past salmonella mystery has been solved.
Back in 2009, Steven Parnell, former owner of the Peanut Corporation of America, allowed for a shipment of contaminated nuts to leave his facility. The peanuts caused a nationwide outbreak of salmonella poisoning in 2008 and 2009, killing nine people and causing an additional 714 to fall ill.
Six years later, the court came to a consensus for a punishment. On Monday, the court sentenced Parnell to 28 years in prison for contaminating hundreds of Americans. “Although his sentence is less than the maximum, it is the longest sentence ever in a food poisoning case,” food safety lawyer Bill Marler tells CNN. “This sentence is going to send a stiff, cold wind through board rooms across the U.S.”
In a statement released to the Associated Press, Steven sent his deepest condolences to the families which he contaminated, telling the victims, “I think about you guys every day.”
— Grub Street (@grubstreet) September 21, 2015
While Parnell could have faced up to 803 years in prison, the judge sentenced him to 28 years. For the 61-year-old executive, this means he will face life in prison.
Additionally, both Steven’s former food broker Michael Parnell and form quality control manager Mary Wilkerson will face time in jail.