Victims of Peanut Salmonella Outbreak Seek Criminal Charges

Two men who lost parents in a massive Salmonella outbreak that was ultimately linked to <"">Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) will be holding a press conference with five other families who also lost loved ones, said My Fox 9. The group seeks justice for their family members’ deaths and is hoping to pressure the Justice Department to charge the CEO of PCA, Stewart Parnell.

The PCA Salmonella scandal affected peanut products distributed across the country, sickened thousands, impacted most of the states and Canada, and resulted in a number of deaths. At last count, half of those infected were under age 16, while more than one in four cases was under the age of five. The list of recalled foods made with PCA products topped 3,500 and left some 22,500 people ill with Salmonella Infection; nine people died in the historic food poisoning outbreak.

Oversight of the PCA Georgia plant at the center of the outbreak was considered lax, at best, with the plant having been inspected by the state health department on 184 occasions since 2006, but with 114 of those inspections lasting under two hours. Not surprisingly, none of those inspections found evidence of the mold, cockroaches, and Salmonella Bacteria that was uncovered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it investigated the plant last January.

As we’ve previously reported, a second PCA plant in Texas, which was closed because of deplorable conditions, had never been properly licensed. Yet, a state inspector who visited the plant on three occasions since 2005 actually indicated in his reports that the facility was licensed correctly.

Stewart Parnell was the CEO of PCA during the massive scandal that killed nine people. “I want to know who to be mad at,” said Jeff Almer, who lost his mother. “Who is in charge of this investigation? You can’t find out anything,” quoted My Fox 9. Almer and Lou Tousignant said they have a strategy to get the Justice Department’s attention.

“It’s just shocking to me that there have been no charges filed, especially when he knew he was in the wrong,” Tousignant said, referring to Parnell, quoted My Fox 9. Tousignant’s father, Cliff, who died as a result of the Foodborne Illness, was a three-time Purple Heart recipient. “My son will probably never remember his grandpa,” Tousignant said. “That’s the biggest regret of this whole thing—is my son not seeing the man that (sic) brought me into this world,” quoted My News 9.

Shirly Almer, another victim of the outbreak, survived cancer, but was unable to survive Salmonella Poisoning. “She promised her nieces and nephews that she would be there for their weddings, and that’s a promise that will be unfulfilled thanks to someone else’s disregard for human life,” Almer said, reported My News 9.

My News 9 noted that Parnell has never been charged with a crime, despite having testified that he was aware that the Salmonella Bacteria was detected at the Georgia plant, yet ordered products to ship knowing of the dangers. Reports are circulating that Parnell is working again, this time, “as a consultant for several peanut companies,” said My News 9.

Salmonella-contaminated food may not look or smell spoiled; however, consumption of food contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria may cause Salmonella infection, known as salmonellosis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people infected with the Food Poisoning pathogen usually experience symptoms of Salmonella poisoning beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food or beverage.

Food poisoning symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and symptoms of Salmonella usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most persons recover without antibiotic treatment; however, the diarrhea can be severe, and hospitalization may be required. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems may have more serious illness and Salmonella Symptoms. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

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