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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Interesting, what if government officials were held responsible for foodborne illness outbreaks?

SummerCamp.jpgI was reading this morning about Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.  According to press reports, he said that regional state administration heads will be held personally responsible if there are legal violations during the summer holidays in children’s camps.  Azarov said at an extended meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on Friday that there must be no cases of children suffering food poisoning in summer camps.

“We do not have the right to allow violations of the regulations of children’s food provision, [or] the quality of food. Such cases occurred last year. I would like to personally warn governors and all those who at the Health Ministry are responsible for this sphere: they will be held personally responsible for every such case,” the premier said.

Must admit, an interesting idea.

  • Harry Hamil

    It’s nice to have you finally show some interest in holding regulators accountable, Bill.
    Where were you during the fight over the HR 2749, S 510 and the FSMA, when I and others in the local, healthy food movement again and again pointed out the lack of accountability at the FDA even in cases of clear incompetence (e.g., the salmonella outbreaks in 2008 incorrectly blamed on tomatoes, Wright County Eggs/Hallandale Farms)? Where were you when we pointed out that the FDA wasn’t using all of its existing authority, much less using effectively? Where were you when we were calling for accountability?
    You were an apologist (not to be confused with apologizing) for the FDA.
    You were declaring that the Wright County Egg, Hallandale Farms, Peanut Corporation of America and every other outbreak that occurred were because the FDA didn’t have enough authority. Regardless of the facts, EVERY outbreak was further evidence of the desperate need for additional regulation.
    And where were Obama, Vilsack and Sebelius? Holding regulators accountable? Nope. They were doing just what you were doing—pushing legislation. You were pushing legislation the goal of which was dressed up as “modernization” when it was primarily the ratification of the FDA’s interpretation of its existing powers and techniques which have never been demonstrated to be particularly effective while having very high costs in a lot more than money.
    Admitting mistakes, holding people accountable and properly administering existing powers aren’t sexy like new legislation is. It is hard work that is almost always criticized. And it is how you actually improve food safety.
    As I’ve commented again and again on this blog and Food Safety News, the FSMA is a major whitewash of the poor performance of the FDA, FSIS and those to whom they report. Even worse, it was written so that it is a CYA of the FDA’s future actions and inactions.
    I’m looking forward to hearing you call for accountability in specific cases.

  • Here is a bit from China:
    China jails 106 people for food safety violation
    China National News
    Saturday 21st May, 2011
    (IANS)
    Courts in China have convicted 106 people over the past eight months in 61 cases involving food safety violation, a statement said.
    The cases involved production and sale of poisonous or harmful foodstuff as well of food that failed to meet hygienic standards, Xinhua reported citing the Supreme People’s Court.
    The sentence terms for the convicts – which were handed down during September last year to April this year – were all without any chance of reprieve, the statement said.
    Perhaps jailing and/or executing individuals who sell contaminated product is the way to go. You might also like the other things China does – jail the lawyers who represent the victims, and the victims too for good measure.

  • Minkpuppy

    This would be great if I thought the FSIS administrators would actually be held accountable. However, from what I’ve seen, the agency will more likely make some poor sap inspectors into scapegoats and destroy them while they skip merrily away and wash their hands of it.