Peanut Corporation of America Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2008-2009)
At least 714 people in 46 states were confirmed ill with Salmonella Typhimurium infection after consuming peanut and peanut butter products produced by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) in 2008 and 2009. The Minnesota health department first listed a product advisory on January 9, 2009, when the presence of Salmonella was detected in King Nut peanut butter.
The outbreak strain of Salmonella was then traced to the Peanut Corporation of America’s Blakely, GA processing facility. Recalls began with commercially distributed peanut butter, but the list of recalled products quickly grew to include over 3600 products made with peanut butter and peanut paste produced by PCA in the Blakely, GA and Plainview, TX facilities since January 1, 2007. PCA declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February of 2009.
Marler Clark filed 41 lawsuits against PCA on behalf of victims of the Salmonella outbreak. Marler Clark clients who became ill with Salmonella during the outbreak had consumed such products as peanut butter and peanut butter crackers. The firm also filed a lawsuit against King Nut on behalf of the family of a victim who died as a result of Salmonella. King Nut used PCA peanuts in its products.
On September 1 2010, settlements for the victims were approved by a Virginia court, paid from PCA's insurance.
On February 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that former PCA officials had been indicted after a years-long criminal investigation into their involvement in releasing Salmonella-contaminated peanuts and peanut-products into the chain of commerce. Bill Marler praised the Department of Justice for its work on behalf of PCA clients and consumers everywhere, stating:
These indictments will have a far reaching impact on the food industry. Corporate executives and directors of food safety will need to think hard about the safety of their product when it enters the stream of commerce. Felony counts like this one are rare, but misdemeanor charges that can include fines AND jail time can and should happen.
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