The ongoing salmonella outbreak has been linked to a ninth death, according to health officials in Ohio. The news came today as the owner of the peanut company at the heart of the outbreak refused to testify before a congressional committee. Stewart Parnell, owner of Peanut Corp. of America, repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself, according to a report by the Associated Press.
During the hearing it was disclosed that Parnell had urged his workers to ship bacteria-tainted products, saying that he should be able to "turn the raw peanuts on the floor into money."
According to The New York Times, PCA shipped peanut products to customers before getting back results of tests that demonstrated contamination. The Times reported that when the plant’s manager was told of the test results, he responded by saying, “Uh-oh,” according to documents released by the committee.
After Parnell balked at the hearing, a tester from a private lab testified that PCA had discovered salmonella at its Georgia plant as far back as 2006. Relatives of victims of the outbreak were also at the hearing and urged lawmakers to toughen food safety laws, oversight and penalties. "Their behavior is criminal, in my opinion. I want to see jail time," said Jeffrey Almer, whose 72-year-old mother died Dec. 21 in Minnesota.