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Intentional Contamination: The Legal Risks and Responsibilities

Intentional Contamination:  The Legal Risks and Responsibilities” was written for the Journal of Environmental Health. In the article, I address who is legally responsible for injuries sustained after a person becomes ill after consuming a product that was intentionally contaminated before it was purchased.

Beyond the political implications of the use of food products as weapons, there is also the legal question of whether a company can be held liable for the criminal acts of an employee who decides, for whatever reason, to contaminate food products that then go on to make a number of people sick. To answer this question, we need first to discuss the rule of vicarious liability, or, as it is also known, respondeat superior–which is Latin for “let the superior make the answer.”

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