In a decision that may finally hold U.S. food producers accountable, a federal jury convicted three people Friday in connection with an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths.
Parnell, his brother, Michael Parnell, and quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson have been on trial since Aug. 1 on charges stemming from the 2008-2009 outbreak that sickened 714 people and was linked to nine deaths. Michael Parnell was found guilty of conspiracy. Wilkerson was found guilty of obstruction.
Conspiracy charges and the obstruction charges each carry up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing will take place at a later date.
Experts say it’s the first time corporate executives and plant workers have gone to trial in a food poisoning case.