Food poisoning is scary. Anyone acquainted with the violent, unpleasant slice of hell that is food poisoning knows exactly why it's so scary -- and I'm (obviously) not even talking about the fatal cases. But what's REALLY scary is finding out that a huge food processing company knowingly "engaged in a multiyear conspiracy to hide the fact that many of the company's products were tainted with salmonella."
Yes, that huge food processing company would be Peanut Corp. of America, and that "multiyear conspiracy" would be the peanut butter-induced salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people and killed 9 between 2008-2009.
It's pretty rare for the federal government to get involved in food poisoning cases, but this time?
Felony charges it is! On Thursday, the Justice Department made some seriously damning allegations against former owner of Peanut Corp. of America Stewart Parnell and other employees; among them, that the "company failed to notify its customers -- including several national food companies -- when independent lab tests revealed the presence of salmonella."
"In some cases, company officials fabricated lab results, stating peanut products were salmonella-free even when tests showed otherwise, or when no tests had been conducted at all."
Food poisoning is scariest when greedy corporate criminals don't care if it kills people or not.
I hesitate to say there's any "silver lining" here, but at the very least, this travesty will likely lead to stricter regulations in the food processing industry. Not that it matters to the 9 people who passed away or the hundreds of people who suffered miserably, all because they ate some peanut butter.
Let's hope this case is the last of its kind.
Did you know anyone who was affected by this horrible salmonella outbreak?
Image via WSJ