Michael Blume was quoted in Food Engineering on February 16, 2018, on the decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta to uphold the criminal convictions and sentences in a food safety case against the Peanut Corporation of America, one of the largest criminal food safety cases ever.
In remarks to the reporter, Blume said, "The sentences imposed on the former corporate officials of the Peanut Corporation of America were the largest ever meted out in a food safety case. Anyone in the food industry thus has to pay attention to the case, and learn from it. The bottom line is that paying insufficient attention to food safety is a risk that no one should be taking."
Blume added, "Prosecuting culpable corporate executives, although always a goal of DOJ, has become more of a priority in recent years. Much of the reason for that change has been the sharp criticism DOJ faced for the lack of prosecutions of individuals in the financial services industry in the wake of the Great Recession. That said, as relevant to the food industry, DOJ has made it clear that it will focus its attention on those corporate executives who bear some responsible relation to the unlawful conduct. It will seek to hold accountable those who could have acted to prevent a food safety problem, but chose not to do so."