WASHINGTON DC: Salmonella outbreak victims testify before Congress
Posted: February 13th, 2011 - 5:11pm
Washington, DC -- Friday marks two years to the day since the president of the Lynchburg-based Peanut Corporation of America appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about the deadly salmonella outbreak linked to his company.
Several of the family members who lost loved ones got their chance to speak before Congress on Friday. Many told emotional stories of their loss because of that tainted peanut butter. They gathered in Washington to ask: where are the criminal charges?
The people who sit in this row don't have much in common - from different states, all different ages. But they're connected by a painful past… loved ones sickened or killed by something many of us have in our pantry right now.
"One of the things she liked to eat… was peanut butter," said Jeff Almer, whose mother died.
Randy Napier - "You think it's going to get easier and easier when you tell the story, but it's not," said Randy Napier, whose mother died.
But one after another, often through tears, they all told their stories again: what it's like to lose a father or a husband.
"He left me by myself, I have to pay all the bills, everything's on me," said Shirley Hullett, whose husband died.
"What hurts most of all is Tommy is never going to know his grandpa," said Lou Tousignant, whose father died.
And for those who did survive, stories of how painful it was to pull through.
"To the degree that she puts it at a 10 on a scale of or maybe an 11, worst pain she's ever experienced," said Larry Andrew, whose wife was sickened.
"He said mommy it hurts so much I want to die," said Gabrielle Meunier, whose son was sickened.
Most of this group was there on February 11th, 2009 when Stewart Parnell pleaded the fifth as lawmakers questioned him and released emails that showed he knew the product was tainted.
They are publicly reliving their nightmare in hopes it will put some pressure on the Justice Department and give them closure that will hopefully be in the form of criminal charges.