U.S. food giant ConAgra pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of sending contaminated peanut butter to stores in 47 states.
The company will pay a record $11.2 million in penalties, including an $8 million fine — the largest single food poisoning-related fine in U.S. history.
"This case demonstrates companies, both large and small, must be vigilant about food safety," Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said Tuesday.
A ConAgra subsidiary shipped salmonella-tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter from a plant in Georgia to stores across the country in 2006 and 2007, even while knowing the product might be contaminated.
About 700 people were sickened.
ConAgra says nothing is more important to the company than assuring the safety and quality of its food. It says it has made significant improvements to its facilities.