Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced legislation to hold violators of food safety standards accountable for their crimes. The Food Safety Accountability Act creates a new criminal offense in the criminal code for any individual or corporation that knowingly distributes tainted food products, and establishes fines and prison sentences for those convicted of such a crime. Leahy is renewing the push for the legislation following a recent national recall of eggs linked to hundreds of cases of salmonella poisoning across the country.
Leahy believes - the fines and recalls that usually result from criminal violations under current law fall short in protecting the public from harmful products. Too often, he says, those who are willing to endanger our children in pursuit of profits view such fines or recalls as just the cost of doing business. According to Mr. Leahy, - this common sense bill increases the sentences that prosecutors can seek for people who knowingly violate our food safety laws.
The bill will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy chairs the panel, and will include the legislation on the agenda for a Committee business meeting scheduled for this Thursday. Leahy wants to insure that - when the Senate considers broader food safety legislation, this bill has moved through the Committee mark up process. If the Food Safety accountability act becomes law, prosecutors will be able to seek prison sentences of up to 10 years for people who knowingly place contaminated food products into the nation’s food supply.