Stewart Parnell, 61, who once oversaw Peanut Corporation of America, and his brother, Michael, 56, who was a food broker on behalf of the company, were convicted on federal conspiracy charges in September 2014 for knowingly shipping salmonella-tainted peanuts to customers. During the seven-week trial last year, prosecutors showed the Parnell brothers covered up the presence of salmonella in the company’s peanut products for years, even creating fake certificates showing the products were uncontaminated despite laboratory results showing otherwise. Contamination at the company’s plant in Blakely, Georgia, led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history and forced the company into liquidation.
Earlier this week, Stewart was sentenced to serve 28 years in federal prison while Michael was sentenced to serve 20. Mary Wilkerson, 41, a former quality control manager at the plant who was found guilty of obstruction, was sentenced to serve five years in prison.
An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testified at the trial that the company’s peanut products sickened 714 people in 46 states, including 166 of whom were hospitalized. Nine people died. Looks like the government has needlessly added geriatrics to the BOP rolls for far too long!.