(WASHINGTON) — Four years after hundreds were sickened and nine people died in one of the largest food-related outbreaks in history, federal charges have been filed against the people who sold salmonella-tainted peanut butter in 2009.
Federal prosecutors say top executives at the Peanut Corporation of America knew they had a salmonella problem in their Georgia plant, but kept selling their product anyway.
A 76-count indictment charges four former officials of the now-bankrupt company, with conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
“We all place a great deal of trust in the companies and individuals who prepare and package our food, often times taking it for granted that the public’s health and safety interests will outweigh individual and corporate greed,” said Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Unfortunately and as alleged in the indictment, these defendants cared less about the quality of the food they were providing to the American people and more about the quantity of money they were gathering while disregarding food safety.”
If convicted, those charged could face 20 years in prison.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Tal Kopan, CNN
Dakin Andone, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg and Kwegyirba Croffie, CNN