Feds Indict 4 in Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak

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A phone call and email to Stewart Parnell’s attorney, Thomas Bondurant Jr., was not immediately returned. Reached by phone, Lightsey said he had no comment and referred questions to his lawyer, who did not return a call.

The indictment alleged the conspiracy lasted from about June 2003 through February 2009 and that peanut products were shipped after testing positive for salmonella.

Stewart Parnell, who invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before Congress in February 2009, once directed employees to “turn them loose” after samples of peanuts had tested positive for salmonella and then were cleared in a second test, according to e-mail uncovered at the time by congressional investigators.

The indictment cited emails sent between defendants talking about contamination in the product.

A federal judge in 2010 approved a $12 million insurance settlement for more than 100 salmonella victims.

Even President Barack Obama expressed concern at the height of the product recalls, noting that his daughter Sasha ate peanut butter for lunch as often as three times a week.

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