Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate would impose criminal penalties of as much as ten years in prison for knowingly violating food safety laws. The Food Safety Enforcement Act, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, would allow prosecutors to seek higher sentences for those who knowingly allow contaminated food to enter the nation’s food supply, and it would make such offenses felony violations.
Senator Leahy said such a measure is necessary to prevent future outbreaks, such as the 2009 incident stemming from the Peanut Corporation of America’s sale of salmonella-contaminated peanut products that resulted in the death of nine people and the hospitalization of dozens more. According to the Senator from Vermont, evidence demonstrated that the company knew that some of its products tested positive for salmonella, but decided to sell the products anyway. Sen. Leahy had this to say when introducing the bill:
The bill I introduce today would increase sentences for people who put profits above safety by knowingly contaminating the food supply. It makes such offenses felony violations and significantly increases the chances that those who commit them will face jail time, rather than a slap on the wrist, for their criminal conduct.
Sen. Leahy also has requested that the Department of Justice conduct a criminal investigation into the Peanut Corporation salmonella outbreak. I’m not sure this will happen, but hopefully the Senator’s bill mentioned above will pass.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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