ConAgra pleads guilty in 2006-2007 salmonella outbreak

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FILE PHOTO PETER PAN PEANUT BUTTER Photo by John Bazemore, AP Photo_254254

** FILE ** In a file photo returned jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter are shown at a super market, Friday, Feb. 16, 2007 in Atlanta. The peanut butter was recalled because of a possible link to a salmonella outbreak. week after ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled peanut butter from its Georgia plant ater a salmonella […]

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) – The Latest on ConAgra’s plead deal to settle a criminal case stemming from a 2006 salmonella outbreak (all times local):

1:30 p.m. – After a decade-long criminal investigation into a salmonella outbreak linked to Peter Pan peanut butter, a ConAgra executive has pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to a single misdemeanor charge of shipping adulterated food.

The guilty plea settles a criminal investigation into the source of the salmonella blamed for sickening at least 625 people in 47 states.

No individuals at ConAgra faced any charges. Leo Knowles, president of ConAgra Grocery Products Company, entered the plea Tuesday before a federal judge in Georgia.

Judge W. Louis Sands was to decide later Tuesday whether to accept a settlement ConAgra reached with federal prosecutors. It calls for ConAgra to pay $11.2 million, including an $8 million fine that the Justice Department says would be the largest criminal fine over food safety in the United States.

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6:30 a.m. – A federal judge is scheduled to consider an $11.2 million plea deal to settle a criminal case against ConAgra stemming from a salmonella outbreak linked to the company’s Peter Pan peanut butter that sickened hundreds a decade ago.

U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands set a hearing Tuesday to finalize the agreement ConAgra reached last year after federal prosecutors charged one of its subsidiaries with one misdemeanor count of shipping adulterated food. The proposed settlement includes an $8 million fine, which prosecutors say would be the largest criminal fine ever in a U.S. food safety case.

In early 2007, salmonella blamed for sickening at least 625 people in 47 states was traced to a plant in rural Sylvester, Georgia, that produced Peter Pan peanut butter. A massive recall followed.

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