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Food Policy & Law

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Report Argues That Courts Ensure Food Safety Better Than Industry

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A report released Wednesday by the American Association for Justice argues that the civil justice system is better at getting the food industry to ensure the safety of their products than foodborne illnesses. About 80 percent of foodborne illnesses are never connected to their cause. The AAJ report says this means “no consistent market repercussions… Continue Reading

Individual Animals (Again) Get on the Crime Victims List in Oregon

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Oregon is again the first state where prosecutors may count each abused animal as a crime victim. The state did so once before and then took it back, but now it has reinstated the court precedent to let animals count as individuals under state law. Non-humans have long had victim status under the law. Partnerships,… Continue Reading

Korean Scientists Report Second ‘Kill Step’ for Salmonella in Peanut Butter

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American consumers lost their innocence about peanut butter when manufacturers of such well-known brands as Peter Pan, Great Value, King Nut, and Organic Trader Joe’s Salted Valencia all failed to remove the Salmonella contamination from their once-trusted products. Peanuts are grown in fields, along with manure and mud and other materials, so the presence of… Continue Reading

Our Food Safety System Needs a Fully Funded FSMA

Opinion

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Lung cancer and a brain tumor didn’t kill my mother — Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter did. My friends and family mourned her passing, but we resolved to try to fix the system that ultimately allowed irresponsible food manufacturers to ship tainted peanut products nationwide, sickening more than 700 people and killing nine. In February 2009, I testified… Continue Reading

FDA Warns Powdered Caffeine Distributors About Safety Risks

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to help prevent more deaths from the use of pure powdered caffeine. Last week, the agency issued warning letters to five distributors of powdered caffeine, stating that their products are adulterated “because they are dietary supplements that present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness… Continue Reading

Conspiracy Theories Bloom as Sentencing Nears in PCA Case

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Somewhat competitive conspiracy theories are working their way into the final days of the Peanut Corporation of America criminal case nearing final sentencing on Sept. 21. Mary Wilkerson’s public defender is spinning the conspiracies in support of new motions to dismiss the guilty jury verdict his client received in September 2014 for obstruction of justice. (Wilkerson had worked in PCA’s front… Continue Reading

USDA Gives GE Potato ‘Nonregulated’ Status

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Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, that they had made a determination of “nonregulated status” for the Innate potato, which is genetically engineered to resist late blight and black spot bruising. This Russet Burbank variety was developed by the J.R. Simplot Company, a… Continue Reading

FDA Warning Letters: Seafood HACCP Violations, Plant Contamination

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A Maspeth, NY, seafood importer, a Springfield, VA, bean sprout operation, and a Brooklyn, NY, cheese manufacturer were on the receiving end of recent warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Shah Poran Distributors Inc. was sent a warning letter dated Aug. 12 from FDA’s New York district office concerning alleged violations of the seafood… Continue Reading

FSMA: No Safety, No Modernization

Opinion

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In the midst of food prices that are already on the rise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will vastly increase costs, but it’s not likely to change food safety nor will it modernize our approach to food safety. In a new research paper, I examine four of the biggest… Continue Reading

Harsher Sentences Remain Possible in PCA Criminal Case

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Harsher sentences could be imposed in three weeks if the trial judge in the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) criminal case decides that the defendants were conscious, or accepting, of reckless risk of death or bodily injury in committing the crimes they stand convicted of by a jury. U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands… Continue Reading