Poison peanut butter seller might get life in prison

One of the plants in Georgia that's linked to the deadly food. Photo: Getty

One of the plants in Georgia that's linked to the deadly food. Photo: Getty

The US Probation Office has recommended a convicted peanut executive serve an “unprecedented” life sentence for food poisoning.

Stewart Parnell, the former owner of the Peanut Corporation of America, was convicted last year for selling truckloads of tainted peanut butter to food processors.

Alleged ISIL member returns to Australia
British teenager admits involvement in Anzac Day terror plot
Putin, Berlusconi: the weirdest political bromance

He sold the product from his Georgia factory even though the peanut butter tested positive for salmonella, according to Associated Press reported.

The poisoned peanut product has been blamed for killing nine people, and making more than 700 ill.

The US Probation Office prepares pre-sentencing reports to help guide Federal judges in their work. Parnell is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21.


One of the plants in Georgia that’s linked to the deadly food. Photo: Getty

The judges are required to consider the suggestions from the probation Office, but are not bound by them.

Bill Marler, an attorney for victims, said the court official’s call for life imprisonment was “unprecedented”.

“Life in prison, especially in a food case, it’s frankly unprecedented,” said Mr Marler.

“But the case itself, on a factual basis, is unprecedented.”

Parnell’s attorney Ken Hodges slammed the suggestion as “truly absurd”.

“That recommendation is truly absurd,” said Mr Hodges. “We hope the judge will see that Stewart Parnell never meant to hurt anyone. He ate the peanut butter himself. He fed it to his children and to his grandchildren.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Parnell was also found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice, when the sentence was handed down in September 2014.

Parnell, 60 at the time, and other former staff were convicted for allegedly creating a multiyear plan to conceal that many of his company’s products had salmonella poisoning.

The trial went for seven weeks in Albany, Georgia.

Prosecutors for the victims argued that Peanut Corp. defrauded customers and national food companies, by not telling them when lab tests showed food-borne pathogens in their shipped products.

In some instances the prosecutors alleged company workers fabricated lab results to state products were safe, even though tests showed otherwise or when no tests had been done at all.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.