Georgia salmonella case: Peanut boss could spend life in prison

Stewart Parnell is about to find out whether intentionally selling salmonella-tainted food will put him in prison for the rest of his life.

You might remember him as the owner and president of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America. When told that a delivery of food from his South Georgia plant might be delayed by waiting for lab safety test results, Parnell replied in an email: “Just ship it. I can’t afford to (lose) another customer.”

A jury found him guilty on dozens of counts in what could become a watershed case in food safety. His sentencing hearing starts Monday.

But one of Parnell’s attorneys told the AJC a long prison sentence will serve no good purpose: “He can’t do any harm to society.”

Check out what else he said, what Parnell did and what experts say about the changing fate of white collar criminals in the AJC’s latest Unofficial Business column on myAJC.com.

Photo by RICK MCKAY/Washington Bureau WASHINGTON...  Stewart Parnell, owner and president of the Peanut Corporation of America, informs the House committee looking into the salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter manufactured by his company that he was asserting his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer any of the committee's questions. Parnell was subpoenaed to appear before the committee.  (Photo by RICK MCKAY/Cox Washington Bureau)  NO MAGS, NO SALES,  ONE TIME USE ONLY, RECEIVER USE ONLY,  EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Stewart Parnell, owner and president of the Peanut Corporation of America, asserted his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing looking into a salmonella outbreak tied to his company. RICK MCKAY/Cox Washington Bureau

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