Written by Tyler R. Etter
On October 1, 2015, two former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) employees were sentenced for
their part in the shipping of tainted peanut paste that caused a salmonella outbreak. The sentenced
employees were Samuel Lightsey and Daniel Kilgore, both former operations managers at PCA’s Blakley,
Georgia plant. The two were sentenced to 36 and 72 months in prison respectively, each followed by
three years of supervised release.
The 2008-2009 outbreak occurred across 46 states, with over 700 individuals falling ill. PCA has shipped
contaminated products, either before receiving test results or falsifying the tests. The prosecution has
been focused on the officials for conspiracy to defraud. Both Kilgore and Lightsey pleaded guilty to
conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and the sale of misbranded and adulterated food.
On the same day, the victims of the outbreak urged the full funding of the Food and Drug
Administration’s (FDA) food safety program. The letter to Congress was signed by six families affected by
the outbreak, four of whom had lost a family member. The letter urged Congress to allocate $109.5
million to the FDA to fund the program designed to prevent a similar outbreak.
The families of the victims from the outbreak were instrumental in the passing of the Food Safety
Modernization Act. The families stated that without proper funding, “the law’s potential will be
squandered, and families such as ours will continue to be put at needless risk...” The current bills in the
House and Senate are proposing less than half of the requested budget for the food program.