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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Federal Judge Hands Down 28 Year Sentence for Peanut Butter Deaths

The much publicized peanut butter deaths (9 of them) provide another example of the intersections between tort law and criminal law. Last month, a federal judge handed down a 28 year sentence for the former CEO at sentencing after his conviction. A September 21, 2015 NPR story includes the background and video. The nutshell version is as follows:

“Before and during the outbreak, company executives assured customers that their products were free of salmonella when no tests had been carried out.

When tests did turn up salmonella, company executives sometimes just retested that batch, and when it came up clean, they sold it.


Last year, [the CEO] Parnell and two other people involved in PCA’s peanut business were convicted of criminal charges that included fraud, obstruction of justice and selling adulterated food.

These were almost unprecedented charges in the food industry, and Marler says that executives in other companies are paying close attention. “The arrest of Stewart Parnell, his conviction on these felony counts and his sentence have put a very big chill in the boardrooms of corporate America,” he says.

The Peanut Corporation of America is no longer in business.”

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