Last week, the Department of Justice brought a sweeping indictment against several former Peanut Corporation of America executives alleging egregious, and intentional, violations of food safety laws that caused the salmonella peanut outbreak of 2008. The government charged four individuals who allegedly directed the scheme in an indictment that contains 76 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, violations of federal food and drug laws, and obstruction of justice. What is most significant in this case is the reach of the alleged violations and the number and management positions that were held by the former PCA employees that have been indicted in the case. Several features of the PCA case may well signal the government’s increased readiness to use criminal prosecutions to police violations of the nation’s food safety laws.

Click here for more on the far-reaching implications of this case and considerations for what may come under FSMA.