Four executives formerly of Peanut Corp. of America, the now-defunct peanut company associated with a 2009 salmonella outbreak that was linked to more than 700 incidents of illness and as many as nine deaths, were indicted by a grand jury who determined that they had prior knowledge that their products were tainted – and intentionally defrauded the public in order to protect their profits.
The 2009 outbreak, which afflicted people in 46 states across the country, affected thousands of products made by the company since 2007, including roasted peanuts, peanut butter, cookies, cereal and pet treats. According to the complaint, company executives failed to keep the peanut processing plant free of rodents and insects, fabricated quality assurance labels and continued to ship products despite testing which indicated the presence of salmonella.
Additionally, the grand jury determined that the executives intentionally misled investigators after the outbreak occurred. Felony charges in food-related cases such as this one are unusual, and the implications for industry safety standards are expected to be significant.
If you or a member of your family has suffered from a food-related illness due to a company’s negligence, contact our experienced attorneys at hmlm.com today.