Food manufacturers are receiving a warning about contaminated foods, and where the responsibility falls. ConAgra Foods settled their criminal charges, for shipping contaminated peanut butter, for $11.2 million dollars.
According to officials, in 2007, ConAgra Foods knowingly shipped Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter that had been contaminated with salmonella. More than 600 people became sick.
The outbreak was linked to the ConAgra plant in Sylvester, Georgia.
The CEOs of ConAgra denied knowing about any potential salmonella contamination before the product was shipped. However, in 2004, their products had already tested positive, twice, at the Georgia plant.
The company recalled their peanut butter but claims they destroyed any products that were tainted according to Madison Street Capital.
The CDC contends, even with the product recalls, there were millions of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter jars already sitting in pantries, and likely, additional cases of salmonella poisoning were never reported.
The Justice Department reminds food manufacturers that the ConAgra episode is a cautionary tale.
According to CDC, humans are usually infected with the Salmonella bacteria by eating foods that has been contaminated with animal feces.
Salmonella can usually be killed thorough cooking, but most peanut butter is traditionally eaten out of the jar.