Ga. plant manager 'scared' by salmonella test
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.