Guilty verdict in peanut trial should send warning

Food safety advocates say a guilty verdict in a rare federal food-poisoning trial should send a stern warning to others who may be tempted to place profits over people’s welfare.

Five years ago, hundreds of Americans got sick from eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter. The top executive at the Georgia plant where it was made was convicted Friday of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and other crimes.

Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell could face more than three decades in prison for the outbreak linked to nine deaths and prompted one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history. His brother and a second co-defendant could face 20 years in prison.

Experts say it was the first time American food processors have gone to trial on federal charges in a food-poisoning case.

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