“Following its guilty plea, the company was sentenced to pay an $8 million criminal fine and forfeit an additional $3.2 million in assets,” Tuesday’s release said. “The sentence represents the largest fine ever paid in a food safety case.”
ConAgra Grocery Products pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge alleging that a shipment of contaminated peanut butter, under the brand name Peter Pan, was linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella poisoning between 2006 and 2007, the release asserted.
It noted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 700 cases of salmonellosis linked to the outbreak.
According to court documents cited in the release, ConAgra Grocery Products admitted that some of its employees who analyzed completed product tests at the affected plant didn’t know how to properly interpret the results. On two occasions in 2004, routine testing at the company's manufacturing plant in the state of Georgia detected salmonella in samples of finished peanut butter, the release said.