Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Salmonella outbreak trial to begin this week in Georgia

Shirley Almer was able to beat lung cancer and a brain tumor, but ended up dying in 2008 from salmonella poisoning after eating tainted peanut butter while in the hospital.

Almer, 72, was one of nine killed during an outbreak of salmonella that was eventually traced back to peanuts that were processed by Virginia-based Peanut Corporation of America. More than 700 people ended up sick, and it turned out to be one of the largest food recalls in history, The Associated Press reports.

This week, the trial will begin for Stewart Parnell, former head of the now bankrupt Peanut Corporation of America, his brother, food broker Michael Parnell, and quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson. Federal investigators say that customers were misled about the safety of the product, employees were asked to create forged certificates stating peanuts that tested positive for salmonella were safe, and several people worked in an unsanitary plant in Georgia.

For the families of those who died from the bad peanuts, it's been a rough road. "I don't know whether to celebrate or mourn," Almer's son, Jeff, told The Associated Press. Although he has been calling for tighter food safety regulations so this can never happen again, the case going to trial "reminded me about my mom's situation all over again, so the excitement was tempered."

The trial is expected to last several weeks.