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Former peanut company exec sentenced to 28 years in prison for salmonella outbreak that killed 9

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ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A former peanut company executive has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a nationwide salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine Americans and sickening hundreds more.

A federal judge in Georgia sentenced 61-year-old Stewart Parnell on Monday in what is believed to be the most severe punishment ever handed out to a producer in a foodborne illness case.

The former Peanut Corporation of America owner was convicted a year ago of knowingly shipping food tainted with salmonella and for faking lab records that said his products were safe.

Peanut butter and other products from Parnell’s plant in Blakely, Georgia, went to customers who used them in foods from snack crackers to pet food. The salmonella outbreak in 2008 and 2009 triggered a massive food recall.

The brother of Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a deadly salmonella outbreak.

Michael Parnell worked as a broker to provide Kellogg’s with peanut paste from Stewart Parnell’s company.

The plant’s former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, was sentenced to five years in prison.