ConAgra Peanut Butter Recall – Company to Pay Millions
ConAgra Foods Company has recently agreed to pay a multimillion dollar fee to settle a federal criminal charge that the company shipped Peter Pan Peanut Butter tainted with salmonella from a Georgia plant more than five years ago.
Details of the Salmonella Incident
ConAgra Foods has agreed to pay a whopping $11.2 million after an eight-year food-safety investigation involving its Peter Pan Peanut Butter product and salmonella came to a close on Wednesday, May 20th.
The food company faced a federal criminal charge when their product triggered a massive recall and large-scale investigation after over 600 consumers fell ill after coming into contact with the product.
According to the Associated Press and AL.com, the salmonella outbreak in 2007 sickened about 625 people in 47 states and was traced to a plant in Sylvester, Georgia where ConAgra manufactured Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter. As a result, the company recalled all of its peanut butter that had been manufactured since 2004.
Federal prosecutors filed a single misdemeanor charge against the Omaha, Nebraska, based company along with a plea deal in the U.S. District Court in Georgia. While no company executives were charged, ConAgra was charged as a company with one count of shipping adulterated food.
The company agreed to pay $8 million in criminal fines and $3.2 million in forfeitures to the federal government.
Latest in Series of Contaminated Food Litigation
ConAgra Chief Operations Officer Al Bolles has maintained that company did not know its peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella before it was shipped, and it is now overly committed to ensuring the safety of its products.
The ConAgra plea deal, which still must be approved by a federal judge, extends a recent string of high-profile food safety prosecutions, which includes two former Iowa egg industry executives sentenced to three months in jail earlier this year for their part in a 2010 salmonella outbreak, two Colorado cantaloupe farmers receiving probation warnings after being convicted in a deadly 2011 listeria outbreak last year, and the former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, Stewart Parnell’s conviction in a 2008 salmonella outbreak linked to peanuts processed in Georgia.