Senator And Representative Call For Criminal Investigation Of Salmonella Peanut Company

Responding to FDA reports that the company responsible for the salmonella-tainted peanut butter that has infected over 500 people knew its products were contaminated, two members of Congress have called for a criminal investigation into Peanut Corporation of America .

In a letter to the acting Attorney General, Senate Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) write:

Through its investigation, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that Peanut Corporation of America knowingly distributed potentially contaminated product after samples tested positive for salmonella more than a dozen times in the past two years to more than 100 consignee firms, for use as an ingredient in hundreds of different food products. In addition to knowingly selling these tainted products, Peanut Corporation of America also shopped for a laboratory that would provide the acceptable results they were seeking after initial tests found their products to be contaminated. This Salmonella outbreak involving peanut butter products is now linked to eight deaths and has sickened approximately 500 people across the country, forcing one of the largest food recalls in history.

It is clear that the behavior of the Peanut Corporation of America was egregious – harming hundreds of Americans and endangering many thousands more. We believe it is critical to determine whether the actions and omissions of this company rose to the level of criminal conduct. If crimes were committed, those responsible must be identified and held accountable.

This probably won’t satisfy some of our commenters, who have called for Chinese-style punishment for PCA’s directors, but we’re hopeful that justice will be served.

Leahy Calls for Criminal Investigation Into Peanut-Salmonella Outbreak


Edit Your Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    1 Month ago….
    Lab Dude #38: “Sir, the Lab report came back and it’s not good”
    Peanut Molester Boss: “Fuck it, were broke + we’ve been shipping this tainted nut butter out for 2 years, we can’t get caught. Pack it and ship it”

  2. larrymac808 says:

    The AP is also reporting “The federal government is acknowledging that a shipment of peanuts by the plant linked to a salmonella outbreak contained a “filthy, putrid or decomposed substance” later determined to be metal fragments.” via Google News.

    Other news reports indicate that anything produced at that plant in 2007 and 2008 should be tossed out.

  3. nicemarmot617 says:

    Sadly I think even if we did the Chinese-style punishments…greed will always still win. Nothing can stop assholes from trying to make an extra buck, even if it means people’s lives. There are always people who have no conscience.

  4. jpdanzig says:

    It would be useful if Consumerist would publish the list of tainted peanut products — or provide a link to one…

  5. Sunny Yeung says:

    I think that they should not only have to pay for the medical (and/or funeral) expenses for those affected (minus what insurance pays), but they should be made to pay for all the product pulled off the shelf (made to the respective suppliers, cost of goods only). If the company’s assets is not enough, start dipping into the lab that passed their peanut product and those who made this decision.

  6. scoobydoo says:

    I guess this means we can no longer complain about the Chinese doing this to us. Even our own “family owned” firms have no problem shipping deadly product.

    Things that make me sad :(

  7. Aphex242 says:

    It’s pathetic that a congressman even HAS to call for this. There should already be indictments.

  8. logicalnoise says:

    well weren’t 7 peoples deaths linked to this?pretty much open and shut or should be.

    • lemonchar says:

      @logicalnoise: TRULY. Remember those folks who tainted children’s cold medicine in the 90s? Weren’t they tried? How is this any different, except maybe more malicious?

  9. HogwartsAlum says:

    This keeps happening. It’s time for it to stop. Tighten up the regulations and punish the wrongdoers. Hit them in the wallet, where it counts.

    Senator Pat Leahy is a HUGE Batman fan. He got to be in “The Dark Knight.” (that lucky dog). He played the old guy at the party who said to the Joker, “We’re not intimidated by thugs!”

    Go Pat!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Having lived in England were the population has brought the country to a standstill on numerous occassions ,it would be great to see a country wide something done before this slides under the carpet as i am sure it will.this happens in china regularly i would be all for stopping any future problems with a jail sentance of multiple murder charges.our society has reach a piont where most people are getting away with anything they want. why are not all our represantatives standing up for this?have you contacted your reps yet?

  11. thezone says:

    I think the people responsible should be charged with murder. 8 people died when they knew this contaminated food could cause harm to someone. Unfortunately, I think these crooks will end up going to a country club prison when they should be with the rest of the murders they are.

  12. bohemian says:

    They need to not just go after the company assets and their insurance, they need to go after the personal assets of the people who did this. If they still get to keep their personal ill gotten gains even a short jail sentence will seem like a small price to pay for an over all win.

    The FDA is complaining that they are under funded and under staffed. The govt. is looking for things to do to stimulate the economy and create jobs. How about fully funding the FDA and let them hire on a bunch of people to handle the workload. Everyone wins.

  13. oneliketadow says:

    Suitable punishment? Licking the floors clean at the plant.

  14. Winterfall007 says:

    Along with jail and fines out the wazoo, the business should be shut down, and the execs who approved of these practices should be forced to eat the peanut products that killed these people. You only realized what harm you’ve done when it’s about to happen to you.

  15. MooseOfReason says:

    What, no criminal investigation of George W. Bush?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh and it happens more than you think, I know from experience. I too have been pressured more than once to release bad food, but I never did. Twice I left a job in food industry because my ethics and concern for my consumers were higher than the bosses. Their only concern? The money of course.
    No never it went as far as this, but I do know what pressure the QA manager must have been put under.