Government: PCA was aware of tainted shipments - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Government: PCA was aware of tainted shipments

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Stewart Parnell leaving the courthouse Stewart Parnell leaving the courthouse
Mary Wilkerson leaves court with her lawyer Mary Wilkerson leaves court with her lawyer
Michael Parnell walks out of court Michael Parnell walks out of court
Michael Parnell leaving the courthouse Michael Parnell leaving the courthouse
ALBANY, GA - (WALB) - In the federal trial in Albany federal court, jurors heard for the first time from witnesses that Peanut Corporation of America knowingly shipped infected products.

An FDA investigator testified that documents at PCA showed that shipments left the plant days before test results came back, and no recall was made if those tests came back positive.

Janet Gray will take the stand for a third day when court resumes Thursday. The prosecution still hasn't finished questioning her after nine hours.

She confirmed much of what prosecutors argued in opening statements. Janet Gray said PCA shipped products that had initially tested positive for salmonella on at least seven occasions.

She said the FDA investigation shows that PCA retested their products using different samples after receiving those positive tests. PCA would then ship the product when retests came back negative.

Gray said she never saw documents showing a recall nor any effort to contact customers during the investigation. In addition, she said PCA only properly cleaned their facilities one time after a positive test, leaving the door open for continuous contamination.

The contact on the lab results shown in court Wednesday was Mary Wilkerson, One of three people charged in a salmonella outbreak that killed 9 and sickened hundreds more, and was all traced back to the company plant in Blakely.

The prosecution went through almost 100 documents and pictures about the investigation.

Defense lawyers will get their chance Thursday.

Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell, his food broker brother Michael Parnell, and Georgia plant quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson were indicted in February 2013, charged with shipping salmonella tainted peanuts and covering up lab results showing the nuts tested positive for the bacteria.

Nine people died and more than 700 were sickened in the outbreak that happened five years ago.

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