In 2009, as you may recall, there was a salmonella outbreak caused by tainted
peanuts. The peanuts ended up in peanut butter and many other products
and sickened some 700 people, including Jacob Hurley, a Portland boy who
was just three years old at the time. He got sick from eating Austin Toasty
Crackers with Peanut Butter. Nine people died from that outbreak.
The manufacturer behind the tainted peanut products was Peanut Corp. of
America. The company has since gone bankrupt, but the U.S. Department
of Justice aims to hold them responsible for the outbreak. It recently
indicted several former executives of Peanut Corp., including owner Stewart
Parnell and his brother Michael, who served as the company’s vice
president. The charges claim Peanut Corp. was aware of the salmonella
contamination but sold its products anyway.
Peanut Corp.’s peanut products were allegedly tainted with salmonella
beginning in 2004. The FDA inspected the plant in 2009 and found unsanitary
conditions and evidence of the salmonella coverup.