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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption


Publisher’s Platform: Time for More Criminal Prosecutions in Food Poisoning Cases?



It has been a busy past several weeks for public health investigators (and lawyers) and uncomfortable (and sometimes deadly) for food poisoning victims, as well as for the management of several companies. Here are just a few of the outbreaks hitting the news: Salmonella Cucumbers: As of Nov. 18, 2015, 838 people infected with the… Continue Reading

Wilkerson Surrenders to Women’s Minimum-Security Prison in Florida


Mary Wilkerson, the former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) quality assurance manager whom a jury found had lied to federal food safety investigators, surrendered Tuesday to a federal correctional institution in Marianna, FL. The 42-year-old mother of two from Edison, GA, has begun a five-year prison term at FCI Marianna, which the U.S. Bureau of Prisons… Continue Reading

Wilkerson Wants to Remain Free During Appeal; Ordered to Report Nov. 3


Only a quick motion for release on bond pending appeal can keep Mary Wilkerson from having to report to a federal women’s prison on Nov. 3, now less than two weeks away. Her attorney filed such a motion with the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Oct. 14, and yesterday Assistant U.S…. Continue Reading

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It


In case you missed it, here are some of the top food safety stories from last week: PCA Sentencing: Stewart Parnell, former CEO of the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Sept. 21. His peanut-broker brother, Michael Parnell, got 20 years, and former PCA Quality Assurance Manager Mary… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: Parnell Crossed a Long-Existing Line



Since the sentencing of the Peanut Corporation of America criminal cases, some may be wondering if anything has really changed. The longest prison sentences ever handed out for food safety violations would, on the surface, appear to be a new bright line for food manufacturers. But, on closer look, maybe not. Food manufacturers have long… Continue Reading

Praise for an Unlikely ‘Whistleblower’


PCA plant in Plainview, TX

Kenneth Kendrick, missing Monday from the federal courthouse in Albany, GA, did not hear the praise that came from a witness during a pivotal day in the world of food safety. Kendrick is a former assistant plant manager of the Plainview, Texas, peanut processing facility once owned by the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA)…. Continue Reading

Guilty Verdict Puts Food Safety Responsibility Where It Belongs


Inspection at bottling plant

Guilty! The perpetrator of the 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak, Stewart Parnell of the Peanut Corporation of America, just received a 28-year sentence for knowingly distributing Salmonella-containing peanuts. The familiar refrain will be that this is evidence that our food safety system is broken. But those who believe that the response in 2010, the Food Safety Modernization… Continue Reading

PCA Does Not Reflect All in the Food Industry



Michael Parnell’s defense attorney is painting his client as a “little guy” who “lost it all.” I would dare Parnell and his defense team, and the other convicted former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives, to stand before the families of the nine people who died as a result of their actions and try to… Continue Reading

Parnell Defense Attorneys: Outbreak Victims Are Not ‘Crime Victims’


In a legal move that, if successful, could significantly reduce sentences for Stewart and Michael Parnell, defense attorneys in the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) criminal case have presented arguments that individual victims of an outbreak of foodborne illness are not “crime victims” under federal law. The sentencing recommendation that could see Stewart Parnell spending the… Continue Reading

Our Food Safety System Needs a Fully Funded FSMA



Lung cancer and a brain tumor didn’t kill my mother — Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter did. My friends and family mourned her passing, but we resolved to try to fix the system that ultimately allowed irresponsible food manufacturers to ship tainted peanut products nationwide, sickening more than 700 people and killing nine. In February 2009, I testified… Continue Reading