If I were the CEO of, say, King Nut Co. of Solon OH, and I was buying and reselling bulk peanut butter from somebody, don’t you think I’d check their processes more than once every 8 years, especially, if they’d had problems on my last visit? Or maybe I’d get together with some other folks and subcontract inspections, so we’d all know what we were getting from PCA . In any case, I wouldn’t have a situation where somebody found a problem, didn’t tell me, and then didn’t follow up on it until after people died…where that somebody claimed to be responsible for keeping my customers safe.
It’s been clear for years that the FDA just doesn’t work, doesn’t do what it’s intended to do, and creates a whole lot of unintended negative consequences. The March issue of Life Extension (not yet online) has some particularly heinous tales of dangerous drugs being let through the gate. And the problem is systemic, in the nature of what the FDA is, so throwing more money at it will change nothing.
On the other hand, Stewart Parnell needs the law thrown at him:
The company e-mails obtained by the House panel showed that Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell ordered the shipments tainted with the bacteria because he was worried about lost sales.
At one point, Parnell said his workers “desperately at least need to turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money” and at another point told his plant manager to “turn them loose” after learning some peanuts were contaminated with salmonella.
So he knew, when the FDA didn’t. I feel mildly sorry for the guy. He got caught in a government-induced credit-bubble burst, and probably didn’t feel he could afford to do the right thing, or to collect damages from the folks who sold him the bad peanuts. But he’s guilt of manslaughter, as far as I can see. And he needs to pay, as a warning to anyone else tempted to take that gamble.