A former peanut executive has been sentenced to 28 years in jail for his role in a salmonella outbreak. This outbreak occurred in 2009 and resulted in more than 700 illnesses and 9 deaths. According to prosecutors, this man knowingly sold peanuts that had failed food safety tests, causing these illnesses. As a product liability attorney, this is a great message to send to food executives and other companies that consumer safety is of paramount importance. By holding executives criminally liable, it makes safety compliance far more likely.
This salmonella outbreak was more than just a simple oversight, the executive allegedly knew of the salmonella and had the peanuts sold anyway. In some cases, batches came back positive but were simply retested until they came back negative. In other cases, peanuts were shipped before the food safety results came back. In both cases, this is a flagrant disregard for consumer safety and the laws governing food production.
Salmonella can make people very sick, resulting in nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain, and more. It is especially dangerous for elderly people, children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. For these people, salmonella can be deadly.