Peanut company owner refuses to testify before Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The owner of a peanut company blamed for a salmonella outbreak has appeared before a House subcommittee, but is refusing to testify.

Lawmakers ordered Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell to appear at the hearing Wednesday. He showed up, but refused to answer questions, invoking his constitutional right not to incriminate himself.

Earlier, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released the company's internal correspondence showing that Parnell was ordering tainted products to be sold even after confirmation of salmonella. Parnell complains in e-mails about losing money and says he's frustrated by the delay in shipping products.

The salmonella outbreak has resulted in 600 illnesses and eight deaths. A federal criminal investigation is under way.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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