ConAgra has will pay a record $11.2-million fine for marketing Peter Pan peanut butter made in late 2006 that was contaminated with salmonella.
Federal officials linked 700 sicknesses to the peanut butter, but believe far more suffered stomach poisoning.
ConAgra will pay a criminal fine of $8 million for a misdemeanor violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act — the largest fine ever in a food safety case — and forfeit assets of $3.2 million.
"No company can let down its guard when it comes to these kinds of microbiological contaminants," said Department of Justice principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin Mizer.
"Salmonellosis is a serious condition, and a food like peanut butter can deliver it straight to children and other vulnerable populations."
In February 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC determined that the salmonellosis outbreak could be traced to ConAgra's products that were made and shipped from its plant in Sylvester, Ga., starting December 2006.
In Canada, companies get off with a tap on the wrist and continue in business as if nothing happened.