Ga. plant man­ager 'scared' by sal­mo­nella test

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — The for­mer man­ager of a peanut pro­ces­sor linked to a deadly out­break of sal­mo­nella tes­ti­fied Tues­day he was "scared to death" the first time he saw a lab test had iden­ti­fied the deadly pathogen in a prod­uct.

Sa­muel Lightsey con­tin­ued tes­ti­fy­ing as a prose­cu­tion wit­ness against his for­mer boss at Peanut Corp. of Amer­ica, Ste­wart Par­nell, and two oth­ers.

Lightsey said he had 17 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in qual­ity con­trol for the food in­dus­try be­fore join­ing Par­nell's firm. The first time he ever saw a pos­i­tive test for sal­mo­nella was in Au­gust 2008, not long af­ter he joined Peanut Cor­po­ra­tion, he said.

"I never had one be­fore," Lightsey said, ex­plain­ing why he emailed a memo de­tail­ing the prob­lem to com­pany officials. "I just wanted to make sure, let every­one know what was go­ing on."

Af­ter an out­side lab iden­ti­fied sal­mo­nella dur­ing rou­tine test­ing, Lightsey said he warned a cus­tomer not to use the peanut prod­uct and pre­vented the ship­ment of sus­pect goods from the com­pany's pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in Ge­or­gia. The fac­tory flushed its peanut pro­cess­ing lines with hot oil in an at­tempt to kill the bac­te­ria. Lightsey said Par­nell told him to ship the goods af­ter ad­di­tional tests did not find sal­mo­nella.

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