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Stewart Parnell gets 15 minutes of fame on ‘American Greed’

foodsafetynews.com, by Dan Flynn, June 30, 2017

Federal inmate Stewart Parnell, the former chief executive and part owner of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America, is the featured subject of a new episode of CNBC’s “American Greed.” The episode premieres at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT on Monday, July 3.

Stewart, 63, is serving a 28-year prison sentence for knowingly shipping peanut products contaminated with salmonella, leading to thousands of illnesses and nine deaths in a foodborne illness outbreak that resulted in the largest food recall in U.S. history.

“American Greed” is narrated by stage, screen and television actor Stacy Keach, best known for his portrayal of detective Mike Hammer and for his Golden Globe-winning depiction of Ernest Hemingway.

Producers of the true crime series have worked for many months on the Parnell episode. It features on-camera interviews with such food safety advocates as attorney Bill Marler, Northeastern University food policy expert Darin Detwiler, and whistleblower Kenneth Kendrick.

“American Greed” took up the story of the deadly 2008-09 outbreak that killed nine people because Parnell knew Peanut Corporation of America peanut butter and peanut paste was contaminated with Salmonella before it was shipped.

The TV series has focused on what it calls “stories from the dark side of the American Dream” to discover how far some people will go for financial wealth, “no matter the cost to themselves and those around them.” It has looked at all sorts of real-life cases. Many involve criminal activity, including credit card scams, identity theft, counterfeiting and Ponzi schemes.

Before the Salmonella outbreak was discovered in late 2008, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facilities in three states were managed by Parnell from a spacious residence just outside of Lynchburg, VA. When required, Parnell piloted his private plane to the states with company facilities.

In 2014 jury trial, Stewart Parnell was convicted on 67 federal felony counts and his brother Michael Parnell was convicted on 29. Both received prison sentences.

Three other PCA executives and managers were also convicted and sentenced to prison time.

Parnell is now incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) at Estill, SC, He and his brother are appealing their convictions and their sentences to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Marler, who is also publisher of Food Safety News, represented the majority of the most seriously sickened PCA victims along with families of those who died in the outbreak.

Detwiler is a nationally known victim’s advocate who lost his son in the 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak involving Jack in the Box.

Kendrick, hired as a manager at PCA’s Plainview, TX, facility, became a whistleblower after he learned no state or federal food safety agencies knew of the company’s existence because Parnell had decided not to register or license it.