NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Juice maker Odwalla Inc. Thursday pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a record $1.5 million fine in what federal officials said was the first criminal conviction in a contaminated food outbreak.
The Half Moon Bay, Ca.-based company pleaded guilty to 16 misdemeanor counts of selling adulterated food products related to a deadly 1996 E.coli outbreak that was traced to Odwalla's unpasteurized apple juice.
The outbreak caused the death of a 16-month-old Colorado girl and sickened more than 60 people in the Western United States and Canada.
A $250,000 portion of the $1.5 million fine -- the largest of its kind in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's history -- will be divided among several organizations that research and raise consumer awareness about foodborne disease.
In addition to the fine, the company will be put on probation for five years.
In an attempt to prevent similar outbreaks, the FDA earlier this month introduced new measures requiring warning labels on juices that have not been processed.
Odwalla (ODWA) revised its manufacturing process after the 1996 outbreak and now pasteurizes its apple juice to prevent bacterial contamination.