ConAgra is set to pay more than $11 million in penalties nearly a decade after its Peter Pan brand peanut butter sickened hundreds with salmonella.
As part of a deal struck with prosecutors, the Chicago-based company pled guilty to a misdemeanor. The fine is said to be the largest ever in a food safety case in the United States.
ConAgra’s president was on hand to plead guilty to shipping adulterated food in a case that saw 625 instances of salmonella poisoning in 47 states.
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The company came under heavy criticism for its decision in 2006 to continue shipping peanut butter from a plant in Georgia despite lab tests showing that salmonella was present. It wasn’t until 2007 that the company recalled all of its Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter dating back to 2004.
“The industry has taken notice of this prosecution,” Prosecutor Graham Thorpe said.
Here’s what ConAgra attorney Douglas Fellman told the judge:
The company has behaved in a model way, as a model corporate citizen, ever since that time. Since that time, we have an unblemished record. Peter Pan peanut butter is wholesome and it's safe.
None of the money that ConAgra pays will go to victims of the outbreak. No deaths were connected to the outbreak.