History shows few food safety jailings

Source of Article:  http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/03/03/History_shows_few_food_safety_jailings/UPI-50851236105121/

Published: March 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM

ATLANTA, March 3 (UPI) -- U.S. foodborne illness outbreaks such as the one recently traced to a Georgia peanut plant rarely result in people being jailed, observers say.

Even though nine deaths and nearly 700 illnesses have been attributed to salmonella-laced peanut paste made at the Peanut Corporation of America facility in Blakely, Ga., past instances show few arrests or criminal prosecutions stemming from such outbreaks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday.

U.S. officials wouldn't comment on the status of a criminal investigation in the current salmonella outbreak in which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.

But typical of the results from such cases is a 1998 instance, in which the FDA imposed a $1.5 million fine against California juice maker Odwalla Inc. for selling apple juice tainted with E. coli that lead to the death of a Colorado teenager. In that case, the company pleaded guilty to 16 counts of misdemeanor food adulteration.

On the other hand, in a 2007 case the president of Atlantis Foods Inc. of Lantana, Fla., drew a 15-month sentence after pleading guilty to a scheme to sell adulterated chicken salad and lobster dip, the newspaper said.



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