Business Briefs – December 14, 2016

Uber Self-Driving Cars Hit the Streets of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Uber is bringing a small number of self-driving cars to its ride-hailing service in San Francisco — a move likely to excite the city’s tech-savvy population and certain to antagonize California regulators.

The Wednesday launch in Uber’s hometown expands a public pilot program the company started in Pittsburgh in September. The testing lets everyday people experience the cars as Uber works to identify glitches before expanding the technology’s use.

California law, however, requires a test permit for “autonomous vehicles,” and Uber does not have one. The company argues that the law doesn’t apply because its cars require a human backup — so while they are self-driving, they are not autonomous.

Tainted Peanut Butter Leads to $11.2M Penalty a Decade Later

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) – A decade after hundreds of Americans got sick from eating Peter Pan peanut butter contaminated with salmonella, the company that sold it made an embarrassing courtroom guilty plea and agreed to pay the largest criminal fine ever in a U.S. food safety case.

The president of a ConAgra subsidiary entered a guilty plea on behalf of his company Tuesday to a single misdemeanor count of shipping adulterated food. A U.S. District Court judge then approved a deal ConAgra reached with prosecutors to pay an $8 million fine plus $3.2 million in cash forfeitures.

The plea deal resolved a long criminal investigation into a nationwide salmonella outbreak blamed on tainted peanut butter that sickened at least 625 people in 47 states.