Plant's owner refuses to talk

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WASHINGTON --- See the jar, the congressman challenged Stewart Parnell, holding up a container of the peanut seller's products and asking whether he'd dare eat them. Mr. Parnell took the Fifth.

The owner of the peanut company at the heart of the massive salmonella recall refused to answer the lawmaker's questions -- or any others -- Wednesday about the bacteria-tainted products he defiantly told employees to ship to 50 manufacturers of cookies, crackers and ice cream.

"Turn them loose," Mr. Parnell had told his plant manager in an internal e-mail disclosed at the House hearing. The e-mail referred to products that once were deemed contaminated but were cleared in a second test last year.

Summoned by subpoena, the owner of Peanut Corp. of America repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself at the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the salmonella outbreak that has sickened about 600 people, could be linked to nine deaths -- the latest reported in Ohio on Wednesday -- and resulted in the recall of more than 1,900 items.

Mr. Parnell sat as Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held up a jar of his company's products wrapped in crime-scene tape and asked whether he would eat them.

"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution," Mr. Parnell responded.

After he repeated the statement several times, lawmakers dismissed him from the hearing.

Shortly after, a lab tester told the panel the company discovered salmonella at its Blakely, Ga., plant as far back as 2006. Food and Drug Administration officials told lawmakers more federal inspections could have helped prevent the outbreak.

The House panel released e-mails obtained by its investigators showing Mr. Parnell ordered products identified with salmonella to be shipped and quoting his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were "costing us huge $$$$$."

In mid-January, after the outbreak was tied to his company, Mr. Parnell told Food and Drug Administration officials that he and his company "desperately at least need to turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money."

In a separate message to his employees, Mr. Parnell insisted the outbreak did not start at his plant.

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SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 02/12/09 - 02:54 am
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Now 9 deaths. Will this

Now 9 deaths. Will this company be punished? Or will they just get some slap on the hand fine? You can goto jail if you run over a kid accidently with a car and be sentenceed to prison for many years; but a company can kill 9 people (and more kids than 1) and they can take the 5th in Washington, DC. What has this world come to when businesses are treated like royalty, but everyone else are made examples of, and have to be locked up, fined and their lives ruined with the charges. China has it right in this instance, and until companies are truly held accountable they'll continue getting away with literal murder (as this case is proving with that email). "Mr. Parnell ordered products identified with salmonella to be shipped and quoting his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were "costing us huge $$$$$." Maybe the company should face Chinese style justice, and it's bosses be executed with a shot in the head (which happens to Chinese businessmen who do this crap). Want "free trade"? How about some "free foreign justice" to go with it!

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 02/12/09 - 03:06 am
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Lest we forget why we don't

Lest we forget why we don't let businesses govern safety for themselves -- http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/

Ga Values
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Ga Values 02/12/09 - 07:52 am
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How much did Saxby Chambliss

How much did Saxby Chambliss take from Peanut Corporation of America and what did they get for it?

pofwe
5
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pofwe 02/12/09 - 08:58 am
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I didn't hear of "Shamby"

I didn't hear of "Shamby" Chambliss defending his patron contributors anywhere on Capitol Hill. Washington, D.C. is such a specious place to be the seat of "Democracy."

MyOpinion2
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MyOpinion2 02/12/09 - 09:54 am
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Stewart Parnell is a MURDERER

Stewart Parnell is a MURDERER plain and simple, in CHINA he would have been beheaded. Close down the plant NOW! Show GEORGIA and the USA WE MEAN BUSINESS!

deekster
24
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deekster 02/12/09 - 11:20 am
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What a bunch of "boofoons" we

What a bunch of "boofoons" we elect to represent our "life interest". Next they will form a subcommittee to investigate the "baby factory woman in LA". WORK THE SYSTEM BABY Then we will have "the Brett Farve" show on Capitol Hill. "WHAT I WRONG WITH RETIREMENT IN AMERICA"

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 02/13/09 - 12:19 am
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"Close down the plant NOW!

"Close down the plant NOW! Show GEORGIA and the USA WE MEAN BUSINESS!" ----- This IS business in GA. They want little to no regulations, they want -- "desperately at least need to turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money." That's all they care about, dirty peanuts for the elephant back at the GOP headquarters. Maybe if the elephant gets salmonella poisoning, things will change quick, huh? Let the circus go on, the black eye will do GA some good, as it's own politicians aren't willing to save it's own residents from dying. All they'll be whining about next is TORT REFORM. God, I can't wait for the day of judgment, all the filth washed away, so the meek shall inherit this Earth. Not thugs in suits raping our people for dollar signs.

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