According to the reports, federal court officers recommended a life sentence for an executive convicted of selling salmonella-tainted food. If the 61-year-old man is sentenced to life in prison, this would be the first time a food-poisoning case results in such a harsh sentence.
On Wednesday, prosecutors disclosed further information on this case. According to the report, the former owner of the Peanut Corporation of America is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21 by a federal judge in Albany Georgia.
The trial involving the executive and two co-defendants is the first of its kind to be tried by an American court. The trial took place last year. According to official reports, the man was convicted of 71 counts. Some of the crimes he has been found guilty of committing include conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and several other crimes. He was sentenced after products he sold were responsible for a Samonella outbreak that killed nine people and resulted in 714 illnesses.
The outbreak, which happened between 2008 and 2009, led to the largest food recall in the history of the country.
According to attorneys on both sides, this is unprecedented. But to attorneys representing the executive, the life sentence recommendation should be refused by the judge, considering that medical doctors were never called to testify and that only one victim took the stand against the peanut company executive.
Prosecutors, however, are standing by their numbers. According to health officials, customers impacted by the salmonella contamination suffered $144 million in losses.
To attorneys who have dedicated their entire lives to representing victims of food-borne illnesses for decades, both the tainted peanut case and the life in prison sentence are absolutely unprecedented. They believe the judge will think carefully before going for the life sentence in this case.
But the possibility of a harsh sentence sends a clear and important message for food companies across the country. This case could have a dramatic impact on how companies do business and pursue their dealings with retailers and restaurants.
The salmonella-tainted peanut outbreak caused deaths in Minnesota, North Carolina, Idaho, and Virginia. Consumers who are interested in learning more about this story should follow this link for more details.