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Food Safety News

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PCA

When food safety crisis hit, Perdue had to prepare for next one

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue is president-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of agriculture.

This century’s most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness came out of the state of Georgia while secretary of agriculture nominee Sonny Perdue was governor, and there was not much he could do about it. After King Nut peanut butter made by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) was implicated in the deadly nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium, investigators from… Continue Reading

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

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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

Publisher’s Platform: A Bit(e) of history of outbreak criminal prosecutions

Opinion

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I thought it might be helpful to see a few cases where a food borne outbreak brought the attention of the US Attorney’s office. “Forwarded is Forearmed.” Odwalla:  In 1998 in what was the first criminal conviction in a large-scale food-poisoning outbreak, Odwalla Inc. pleaded guilty to violating Federal food safety laws and agreed to pay… Continue Reading

PCA defense attorneys switch their focus to Atlanta for appeals

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Thomas G. Ledford, the court appointed defense attorney for the former quality control manager at the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America, made numerous attempts to get the trial court to let his client off. That client, 41-year old Mary Wilkerson, is now serving a five-year sentence for obstruction of justice at the federal correctional… Continue Reading

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

Opinion

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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

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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

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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

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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

Opinion

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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’

Opinion

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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