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Former Peanut Corp. Employee Subpoenaed

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a Federal Grand Jury subpoena for a former employee of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), four years after the company caused a Salmonella outbreak in 2008 and 2009 that killed 9 and sickened roughly 700, WSET reports.

For years, families affected by the outbreak have asked for former PCA President and CEO Stewart Parnell to face trial for criminal negligence for his part in the outbreak. The Justice Department has long stood by its standard not to comment on potential criminal investigations.

Now, it appears, at least one former employee will answer questions about her time at PCA in front of a grand jury. The employee, whose name has been protected, told WSET that agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation advised her to plan to stay for questioning in Macon County, Ga., for up to six weekdays.

Peanut products linked to the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak were found at PCA’s Blakely, Ga., plant. Parnell is a resident of Lynchburg, Va.

In 2009, Parnell plead his Fifth Amendment rights before a congressional panel organized by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Congress members on the panel presented evidence such as e-mails that they said showed he had intentionally shipped peanut products he knew to be contaminated with Salmonella.

In April 2012, Food Safety News published a three-year retrospective on the PCA Salmonella outbreak, detailing the history of the outbreak and discussing the possibility of a criminal investigation being underway.

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