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Food Safety News

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Judge W. Louis Sands

PCA appeal could impact future food safety prosecutions

The trial judge is as much on trial as the criminal defendants during an appeal, and a 97-minute session Tuesday in a federal appeals court in Atlanta was an illustration of how that system works. It came during oral arguments in the case of United States v. Michael Parnell, Mary Wilkerson and Stewart Parnell before a… Continue Reading

‘Fry them’ comments in jury room could get Parnells a new trial

Defense lawyers for executives in peanut butter Salmonella trial say jurors had loose lips

The conduct of the 2014 jury that convicted Peanut Corporation of America executives delayed sentencing for about year, but in its final analysis the district court found a new trial based on jury misconduct was not warranted. Appellate attorneys for peanut broker Michael Parnell filed lengthy after-hours arguments Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals… Continue Reading

First of PCA convicted executives begins prison release process

Samuel Lightsey, 52, the former manager of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America processing plant in Blakely, GA, has moved into a Residential Re-entry Management facility in Atlanta a step toward his release from federal prison scheduled for Oct. 1. Lightsey received the lightest prison sentence among the five eanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives and managers… Continue Reading

Government responds to defense issues in PCA appeal

Prosecution and defense attorneys in the Peanut Corporation of America criminal case have found something they can agree upon. Both sides now say the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta needs to hear oral arguments before deciding if the District Court made any errors that should result in reversing the verdicts and/or the… Continue Reading

Biggest criminal fine ever in food safety case; zip for restitution

Leo A. Knowles, president of ConAgra Grocery Products Company LLC, appeared in federal court in Albany, GA, Tuesday to put a human face on the corporate entity pleading guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge of shipping peanut butter contaminated with salmonella, causing a nationwide outbreak a decade ago. The plea, part of a bargain struck… Continue Reading

Criminal plea hearing will likely end decade-old Peter Pan case

The new Department of Justice’s official guidance for holding individuals responsible for corporate wrongdoing will be honored in the breach tomorrow in a federal courtroom in Albany, GA. Instead, any concern about holding individual responsible for wrongdoing will likely be swept aside with a corporate payment of the largest criminal fine ever  in a U.S…. Continue Reading

ConAgra sentencing delayed again in Peter Pan Salmonella case

A criminal case stemming from a foodborne illness outbreak a decade ago now won’t be resolved until sometime after late October. U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands has directed government and defense lawyers to schedule plea and sentencing hearings for ConAgra Grocery Products Co., a unit of now Chicago-based ConAgra Foods Inc., after Oct…. Continue Reading

Year-long hunt finds almost 200 Peter Pan, Great Value victims

Close to 200 victims of the Salmonella serotype Tennessee outbreak that ended in early 2007 are in line for restitution when ConAgra Grocery Products Co. appears in federal court for sentencing. Credit for finding so many documented victims of a nearly decade-old outbreak goes to federal Judge W. Louis Sands, who has delayed proceedings in… Continue Reading

More victims seek restitution in ’06 peanut butter outbreak

An additional 42 victim statements with supporting documents have been filed with the government over a decade-old Salmonella Tennessee outbreak that was spread by peanut butter made at a ConAgra Grocery Products Co. processing plant in Sylvester, GA. The additional victims statements were submitted June 8, according to Graham A. Thorpe, assistant U.S. Attorney for… Continue Reading

ConAgra inches closer to sentencing for Peter Pan outbreak

ConAgra Grocery Products Co. pleaded guilty a year ago to a one count violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, but has yet to be sentenced for the federal misdemeanor. Government attorneys signed plea bargain agreement with ConAgra on May 20, 2015, with the company entering a plea of guilty to the single federal… Continue Reading