Kerry Inc. pleads guilty and agrees to pay $19.228 M for food safety violations linked to the 2018 Salmonella Outbreak in the cereal Honey Smacks

The Department of Justice announced that food and ingredient manufacturer Kerry Inc. pleaded guilty to a charge that it manufactured cereal under insanitary conditions at a facility in Gridley, Illinois, linked to a Salmonella outbreak in 2018. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Kerry pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of distributing adulterated cereal marketed as Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. The company also agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture totaling $19.228 million. If the court accepts the guilty plea, the $19.228 million fine and forfeiture will constitute the largest-ever criminal penalty following a criminal conviction in a food safety case. From June 2016 to June 2018, routine environmental tests detected Salmonella in the plant approximately 81 times, including at least one positive Salmonella sample each month. According to the plea agreement, employees at the Gridley facility routinely failed to implement corrective and preventative actions to address positive Salmonella tests. The CDC identified more than 130 cases of salmonellosis linked to the outbreak. In a related case, Ravi K. Chermala, Kerry’s Director of Quality Assurance until September 2018, previously pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of causing the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce. Chermala is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 16.@


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