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Concluding Thoughts

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Food Safety Regulatory Issues (SAFE 408/608)

Introduction to Food Safety Regulatory Issues
History of US Food Law (sec 1)
Purpose of Food Law (sec 2)
Relevant Agencies and Organizations (sec 3)
Regulatory Strategies (sec 4)
Regulating the Food Processing Sector (sec 5)
Directing Other Sectors of the Industry (sec 6)
Concluding Thoughts (sec 7)
Summary (sec 8)

Concluding Thoughts (sec 7)

Liability to Injured Consumer (Product Liability)

Much of the discussion during this module has focused on legal requirements imposed on food businesses by government. However, food businesses, like any other business, also respond to market incentives (i.e., what are consumers willing and able to purchase) and legal responsibilities (such as, legal responsibility for providing a food product that injuries a consumer). Similarly, a food business that is supplying a food product to another business may have a legal obligation to that second business if the product of the first business does not meet the contractual standards (and presumably an usafe food product would not meet contractual standards).

This web page briefly introduces the legal responsibility for compensating an injured consumer.

A business is required to compensate a consumer who is injured by the business' product; the potential for this liability provides an alternative incentive to produce a safe product.

Similarly, bad publicity and the cost of re-establishing consumer confidence in the product can be devastating.  Both in terms of lost revenue and cost incurred trying to "repair" a damaged business reputation.

Future issues in food law

  • Increased application of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in the agriculture production sector
  • The goal of increased traceability; what practices must be established through the food industry to accomplish this goal.
  • Refining and increasing the application of risk assessment as a strategy for reducing the risk of unsafe food.
  • Defining "natural," "fresh," and other terms used to describe food products.
  • Harmonizing national standards, emergence of international standards.
    • e.g., labeling GMO products, country of origin, and other related issues; harmonizing labeling standards.
    • Implementing ISO 22000.
    • The global application of HACCP throughout the food industry.
  • The need to understand ethnic foods, foods from other cultures, or foods from other regions.


The next section provides a Summary of this over view to Food Safety Regulatory Issues.

Last Updated November 17, 2010

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