Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Salmonella Pleads the Fifth or When Peanuts Wouldn't Speak

Earlier this week, I attended a luncheon given in honor of Georgia Farmers by the State of Georgia and Governor Sonny Purdue. Addressing the audience, Governor Purdue criticized the owners of the peanut plant who have recently been in the news for accusation of salmonella contamination. It's interesting to note that despite being aware of the contamination, the owner of the plant begged the Food and Drug Administration to allow him "turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money." Eight deaths and five hundred and fifty salmonella related illnesses later, Stewart Parnell the President of the Peanut Corporation of America and owner of the plant in question today refused to testify before Congress, citing his Fifth Amedment rights against self incrimination.

For many years the plant owned by Parnell had been in a sorry state. There was a constantly leaking roof, rodent invasion and positive results for salmonella testing. In general there was gross mismanagement and utter negligence of the worse kind, especially for a food processing plant. Parnell, has had his day before Congress and before long may have his day before a Judicial panel of some sort. Whatever punishment he receives will only be a tap on the wrist and nothing compared to the punishment China's Zheng Xiaoyu received. Zheng, the former head of China's FDA was executed by the government for allowing untested medication be sold in exchange for monetary compensation.

Today in the news, it was reported that companies owned by Parnell filed for bankruptcy. This is only the beginning, but the real punishment will come when Parnell is made to face the full brunt of the law. Zheng had his day and didn't live to tell his story. Parnell will have his soon, hopefully, but will possibly live to tell his story in a state sponsored facility payed for by federal tax dollars. He'll live alright thanks to the democracy that is the United States. But soon, the chickens will come home to roost.

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