September 28, 2022

Deadly Salmonella Outbreak: Peanut Corp. Execs Plead Not Guilty

Four former executives of the Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) have pleaded not guilty to charges in a 76-count indictment stemming from a 2009 Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 people and killed nine. Stewart Parnell, the now defunct company’s owner and president, Michael Parnell, a food broker;  Samuel Lightsey, a plant manager; and Mary Wilkerson a quality assurance manager entered their on Thursday in federal court in Albany, Ga.  They were released on bond.

Kratom Salmonella OutbreakFor Stewart and Michael Parnell bond was set at $100,000. For Samuel Lightsey bond was set at $50,000 and  for Mary Wilkerson bond was set at $25,000 dollars. A date for trial has not yet been set.

On February 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted the four former executives on 76 counts charging that the defendants schemed to sell peanut products which they knew to be tainted with Salmonella, a pathogen that can cause serious illness or death. The defendants then fabricated documents that stated the products were pathogen-free, according to the indictment.

“My clients are ecstatic that the wrongdoers responsible for this food safety debacle are finally going to be held accountable by the criminal justice system for the harms and losses they caused,” said Fred Pritzker, president of the national food safety law firm, Pritzker Olsen, who represented several of those harmed by PCA products.  “This prosecution sends the right message to food producers: you need to take personal responsibility for the products you sell. You need to worry about a lot more than your company’s bottom line,” said Pritzker, who is also publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin.



  1. Craig Cleveland says

    I understand why the Parnell brothers were charged. According to the prosecutors report Mr. Parnell was doing this since 2003. Samuel Lightsey began working for PCA on September 2, 2008. People started getting sick around September 8th, 2008. This guy had only worked there for 6 days and still gets charged. Is this fair?

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