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Food Manufacturer Pleads Guilty Over 2018 Outbreak

Kerry Inc. will pay the largest criminal penalty for a food safety conviction in history.

A major food manufacturer will pay more than $19 million to resolve allegations stemming from a salmonella outbreak five years ago.

Kerry Inc. on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of distributing adulterated cereal — a misdemeanor — before an Illinois federal court.

Authorities in 2018 traced an outbreak of salmonellosis to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal produced at a Kerry plant in Gridley, Illinois.

Prosecutors said Kerry employees failed to properly address dozens of positive salmonella tests at the Gridley plant between 2016 and 2018.

The plant’s quality assurance director last year pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors stemming from the case.

More than 130 illnesses were eventually linked to the recalled Honey Smacks cereal.

The $19.2 million in fines and forfeitures represents the largest criminal penalty following a food safety conviction in history.

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