Food Safety Attorney Fred Pritzker Calls for Criminal Sanctions Against Food Poisoners

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National food safety lawyer Fred Pritzer said in a statement that any food executive responsible for knowingly shipping product contaminated with a human pathogen should go to prison. "It's simple,'' said Pritzker, whose law firm is a leading practitioner of foodborne illness litigation. "Test your product. Hold your product until test results are completed. If testing reveals your product is adulterated, don't ship it. If you violate any or all of these three steps, you go to prison.''

Attorney Fred Pritzker

When food companies knowingly ship contaminated products, the company's executives should face criminal charges. If Bernard Madoff can be sent off to prison for economic crimes, why shouldn't executives who introduce deadly pathogens into the food supply.

A recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection of Basic Food Flavors Inc. found that the Las Vegas-based food ingredient maker continued to ship product after its facility tested positive for Salmonella, a potentially deadly bacterium.

When FDA discovered the situation at Basic Food Flavors Inc., a recall was issued of Basic Food Flavors HVP flavor enhancer that has touched off a sweeping domino pattern of food recalls by users of the ingredient. No Salmonella infections have been reported, but the number of HVP-related recalls has topped 100 and could run into the thousands.

While the FDA weighs the appropriate regulatory response, victims of food poisoning and advocates for a stronger food safety system in the United States are hoping for criminal sanctions.

National food safety lawyer Fred Pritzer said in a statement that any food executive responsible for knowingly shipping product contaminated with a human pathogen should go to prison.

"It's simple,'' said Pritzker, whose law firm is a leading practitioner of foodborne illness litigation. "Test your product. Hold your product until test results are completed. If testing reveals your product is adulterated, don't ship it. If you violate any or all of these three steps, you go to prison.''

Pritzker said the food safety community and families who lost loved ones in last year's peanut-driven Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak are still angry over the lack of criminal prosecution in that case. More than 700 people across the country were sickened and nine people died in the peanut Salmonella outbreak, according to the final CDC report.

Pritzker said victims and their families, are rightfully incensed about the lack of criminal prosecution against individuals at Peanut Corporation of America, now defunct. An FDA inspection found evidence that Peanut Corporation of America shipped peanuts from its Blakely, Georgia plant after the peanuts had tested positive for Salmonella Typhimurium.

"When food companies knowingly ship contaminated products, the company's executives should face criminal charges," Pritzker said. "If ponzi scheme giant Bernard Madoff can be sent off to prison for economic crimes, why shouldn't we incarcerate food company executives who knowingly place potentially-deadly pathogens into the food chain?"

Pritzker Olsen is a nationally recognized food safety law firm that has represented victims in practically every major outbreak of food poisoning in the U.S. The firm is one of the few in the nation practicing extensively in the area of foodborne illness and it has collected millions for victims of Salmonella, E. coli HUS and other diseases caused by pathogens in food. For more information, contact Fred Pritzker at 612-338-0202 or visit our website, http://www.pritzkerlaw.com. The firm has offices at Plaza VII, Suite 2950, 45 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

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