A federal judge sentenced former peanut industry executive Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison Monday for his role in a 2008-2009 Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 and was blamed for nine deaths, USA Today reported.
Parnell, the former CEO of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America, was convicted in 2014 of knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter and faking lab test results after authorities linked products originating from the company’s Georgia plant to the outbreak.
The sentence is the toughest punishment ever handed down to a food producer in a food borne illness case, according to the Associated Press. Parnell faced a maximum of 803 years behind bars though U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands reportedly called this “inappropriate.”
Two other company employees were also sentenced Monday. Michael Parnell was sentenced to 20 years in prison while Mary Wilkerson received five years.