The former managing director of an egg company in Germany linked to a multi-country Salmonella outbreak in 2014 has been given a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months.
Stefan Pohlmann was sentenced at a court in the city of Regensburg this past week. The defendant was found guilty of commercial fraud in 190 cases, negligent bodily harm in 26 cases and told to pay €350,000 ($375,000).
The former Bayern-Ei managing director had already spent eight months in custody. The verdict includes a probation period of two years. An appeal can be made until March 24 to the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.
The court also ordered €1.6 million ($1.72 million) be recovered in connection with proceeds from egg sales included in the case.
Four affected countries
In the process that took five years, it could not be concluded that the death of a man in Austria with a Salmonella infection was due to eggs from Bayern-Ei. The complex supply chain made it difficult to prove the links between illness and place of egg contamination.
As part of a deal with the public prosecutor, Pohlmann will no longer do commercial livestock farming in Germany and animal welfare charges were dropped. Pohlmann admitted he had known about a positive Salmonella test and still sold the eggs.
A European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment in August 2014 noted illnesses in Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
France reported 45 infections between June and July 2014, Austria had 61, 24 people were sick in Germany and 287 in the U.K. between May and September. Cases in Austria, France and Germany shared an epidemiological link to the same egg packaging center in southern Germany.
Outbreaks in the U.K. occurred at a hospital, where one person died, and three different restaurants. Investigations determined Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 14b infections were caused by eggs supplied by Bayern Ei.
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