Mark Linnhoefer – Stewart and Michael Parnell, former CEO and former food broker for the Peanut Corporation of America, were sentenced following a salmonella outbreak that killed nine and made hundreds sick. The pair allegedly knew about the salmonella and willingly covered it up, shipping contaminated products to thousands.
This sentence is unusually harsh for a food safety verdict. Even the DOJ said that Stewart Parnell’s sentence is the longest ever given in such a trial.
The reason behind this might have been the harsh testimony relatives of victims gave during Monday’s hearing, describing the “look of horror” on the faces of those who died from the salmonella, and saying that everyone involved should just be shipped to jail.
The defense’s lawyers are going to appeal against the verdict, citing the men’s ages and therefore calling it a “life sentence.”
Although the two were found guilty, they claim that they never willingly or knowingly shipped contaminated products, and Stewart Parnell’s daughter Grey even says that her father “brought them home” for the family and that they “all ate it.”
The contamination itself happened in 2014 and led to one of the largest recalls of foods in American history, forcing the peanut company into bankruptcy.