The U.S. Department of Justice's civil division has indicted former Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell, his brother Michael Parnell and others, charging that they covered up the presence of salmonella in peanut products for years, reports Reuters.
The 2009 salmonella outbreak linked to tainted peanut butter sickened hundreds and killed nine people in the U.S.
The outbreak led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history and forced PCA into liquidation. The charges carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a statement saying that the indictment "should send a powerful signal to food industry officials that they and their companies could suffer severe consequences if they recklessly put consumers at risk of a foodborne illness."