Human health and food safety compromised despite laws As Americans we want to trust the federal agencies that are designed to protect us, such as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is charged with developing and enforcing food safety laws across the country. But what happens when these organizations are the ones breaking the very laws they established?
In a May 2013 audit from the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency reported that although FSIS food safety laws exist they were not being properly enforced. Several swine slaughter plants that were evaluated as part of the report had hundreds of violations; some with repeat offenses. According to the OIG, this is because “FSIS’ enforcement policies do not deter swine slaughter plants from becoming repeat violators of food safety regulations.” Of the 44,128 noncompliance records issued to 616 plants by the FSIS from 2008 through 2011, only 28 plants were suspended. (A noncompliance record is the first of the FSIS’ six-step enforcement program.) Without consequence, these plants were allowed to continue “business as usual”. This includes slaughterhouses with reports of fecal matter, urine, and grease smears on processed meat products. It’s as if the food safety laws that were put into place don’t exist at all.
Fighting for Your Food
Unfortunately, these food safety violations are not the only ones impacting human health today. At Clifford Law Offices, we have been made aware of numerous legal infractions in the food industry and we are dedicated to righting these wrongs for our clients and the general public. Bob Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, recently wrote a column on food safety and important laws affecting Americans. In addition, he is currently serving as plaintiffs’ counsel for Kane v. Chobani, a food mislabeling lawsuit in the Northern District of California.