I got this helpful email over the weekend:
Hey Bill, Section 303, the fine provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, 21 U.S.C. section 333, have been superseded by 18 U.S.C. section 3571, so that the maximum criminal fines for a misdemeanor conviction of the FD&C Act are $250,000 (misdemeanor for individual resulting in death), $100,000 (misdemeanor for individual not resulting in death), $500,000 (misdemeanor for organization resulting in death), or $200,000 (misdemeanor for organization not resulting in death).
I had the fines of by a few digits in an earlier post, but the time in jail and the standards correct:
Felony violations include adulterating or misbranding a food, drug, or device, and putting an adulterated or misbranded food, drug, or device into interstate commerce. Any person who commits a prohibited act violates the FDCA. A person committing a prohibited act “with the intent to defraud or mislead” is guilty of a felony punishable by not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000 or both.
A misdemeanor conviction under the FDCA, unlike a felony conviction, does not require proof of fraudulent intent, or even of knowing or willful conduct. Rather, a person may be convicted if he or she held a position of responsibility or authority in a firm such that the person could have prevented the violation. Convictions under the misdemeanor provisions are punishable by not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000, or both.
Chalk that up to inflation perhaps? So, where does the law stand now, and should sellers of tainted food be worried? Lets see:
21 USCS § 331. Prohibited acts. The following acts and the causing thereof are hereby prohibited:
(a) The introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.
(b) The adulteration or misbranding of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic in interstate commerce.
(c) The receipt in interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded, and the delivery or proffered delivery thereof for pay or otherwise.
The penalties outlined in the original Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), in Title 21, have in fact been superseded by the general criminal penalties contained in Title 18. Regarding prison time, the FDCA, 21 USCS § 333, still provides for a maximum prison term of one year or less, and a maximum of three years or less for duplicate or intentional violations. 18 USCS § 3559 defines a maximum term of one year or less as a Class A misdemeanor; a maximum of three years or less would fall within the category of a Class E felony. 18 USCS § 3571. Sets out the range of fines:
(1) for a felony, not more than $250,000;
(2) for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $250,000;
(3) for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $100,000;
(4) for a Class B or C misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $5,000.
So, same amount of time in jail and bigger fines – I like that.