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Liability in Food Illness Cases Essay

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019

The legal approaches of food-borne illnesses are highly dependent on the product liability law. This is an implication that a plaintiff has to have substantial proof that the food substance in question had blemish and that he or she suffered verifiable impairment or damage as a result of its consumption.

Despite the fact that quite a number of food-borne illness victims have succeeded in numerous lawsuits in the United States of America, there are certain interrelated complications that might hinder the success of such lawsuits (Angela, 2008).

In most occasions, low success rate of food-borne illness cases demoralize victims. Recent researches conducted in over fifty states in USA have indicated that the success rate of such cases is way below 10%. That notwithstanding, there is always a minimal deterrent effect on such cases.

The costs charged on the society are also overwhelmingly high. These hindrance factors play an imperative role in derailing the success of food-borne illness cases (Angela, 2008). In as much as some of these cases deserve hearing and even compensation, it is sometimes difficult to come up with a dependable link between the allegedly harmful food substance and its related illness.

This is because most disease-causing pathogens have incubation periods of a couple of days. This implies that symptoms will only appear after the plaintiff has consumed several other foods hence linking a disease to a particular food product becomes tricky.

The relatively long time between the onset of symptoms and the intake of the food in question makes the plaintiff subject to poor recall or even inaccurate recall. Another hindrance to the success of food-borne illness cases is the chain of commerce associated with food products.

Quite a number of food products become edible after an amalgamation of a series of ingredients. Additionally, consumable foods undergo numerous processes before eventually reaching the consumer. This is an indication that one cannot quite tell the point of contamination or inappropriate preparation of the food (Angela, 2008).

The multiple possibilities of contamination in the various processes and ingredients involved are major deterrent factors to a successful food-borne illness case. In spite of the relatively wide prevalence of food-borne ill ness cases across the United States of America, food producing firms are doing so little to counter the menace.

Most of practices and policies in relation to the risks for which individual food processing firms are most unlikely to compensate for consequential damages or injuries are not given the attention they deserve. For instance, a company that manufactures an ingredient may not be willing to come up with a safety policy for which it will not be directly liable for in the event of food contamination (Angela, 2008).

This is an indication that a company is less likely to invest in alleviating risks whose consequences are unlikely to be linked to it. This, in conjunction with the chain of commerce involved in food products, makes it almost impossible to identify a culpable food producing firm.

As a remedy, food industries should put in place measures and policies that can be in a position of directly linking food contamination to their specific suppliers. Additionally, defendant food processors should be in a position to present verifiable proofs to show that they are not a culprit in the event of food poisoning.

This may be done by conducting prior tests to its foods and storing the data for future reference. Prior laboratory testing of foods may not only help in proving innocence but also in avoiding cases of food poisoning (Angela, 2008).

Reference

Angela, H. (2008). Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law. Alternative Liability theory: Solving the mystery of who is liable in food-borne illness cases, 38(2), 1-10.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Liability in Food Illness Cases." July 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/liability-in-food-illness-cases/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Liability in Food Illness Cases'. 2 July.

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