On February 21, the US Department of Justice announced the criminal prosecution of individual corporate officers and employees related to the 2009 peanut products related Salmonella outbreak. This may prove to be the beginning of a much greater willingness of the Justice Department to apply the criminal sanction to executives in relation to food contamination incidents.

Readers are referred to our Essays Page posting of Nov. 8, 2011 (discussion of the importer provisions of the FSMA) in which we discuss Strict Liability FDA crimes and the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine.

As we have said in our recent Essays Page posting on Food Recall Management (Nov. 23, 2012 Essays Page), this Federal prosecution should be viewed as a "wake-up call" by corporate management as to the enhanced potential for the application of the criminal sanction against individuals when companies are involved in serious food safety incidents.

We post below three documents: (1) the Parnell, et al., Indictment; (2) the Kilgore Information; and (3) the Statements released by DOJ officials on Feb. 21.