NEWS SCAN: Salmonella peanut outbreak indictment, UN immunity over Haiti cholera

Feb 22, 2013

Company executives from 2009 Salmonella peanut outbreak indicted
Four executives from the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) and a related company whose contaminated peanuts caused a nationwide Salmonella outbreak in 2009 that killed 9 and sickened more than 700 people have been indicted on 76 counts, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday. Stewart Parnell, 58; Michael Parnell, 54; and Samuel Lightsey, 48, are charged with mail and wire fraud, the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead, and conspiracy, the DOJ said in a news release. Stewart Parnell, Lightsey, and Mary Wilkerson, 39, were also charged with obstruction of justice. Also yesterday, the DOJ said that Daniel Kilgore, 44, has pled guilty to wire fraud, the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead, and conspiracy. The outbreak has been traced to a PCA plant in Blakely, Ga. The charges say the two Parnells, Lightsey, and Kilgore participated in a scheme to knowingly manufacture and ship Salmonella-contaminated peanuts and peanut products, and in so doing misled PCA customers. "The Department of Justice will not hesitate to pursue any person whose criminal conduct risks the safety of Americans who have done nothing more than eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," said Stuart F. Delery in the release. He heads the DOJ's Civil Division.
Feb 21 DOJ news release

UN claims immunity from Haiti cholera demands
The United Nations (UN) announced yesterday that it was immune from compensation claims brought in November 2011 by victims of Haiti's cholera outbreak. In a press release, the UN said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon phoned Haiti's President Michel Martelly to notify him of the decision and to repeat that the UN is committed to eliminating cholera from Haiti. In the statement Ki-moon expressed his sympathy for the toll the disease has taken on Haiti and called on partners in Haiti and the international community to team up to ensure better health for the country. Scientific and epidemiologic findings have provided strong links between Haiti's cholera outbreak and the arrival of UN peacekeepers from Nepal, though the UN has never acknowledged responsibility for introducing the disease to the country. Brian Concannon, an attorney for the cholera victims, said the case would not be pursued in a national court, according to a BBC report yesterday. In December the UN launched a new initiative to eliminate the disease from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which could cost $2.2 billion over the next decade and improve water and sanitation systems.
Feb 21 UN press release
Feb 21 BBC report

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