Thought this ProMED item might interest you; note the moderator's
comment at the end of it. I was impressed by her awareness of food
system issues (I believe this ProMED list has a new moderator).
Anyone know more about this?
FOODBORNE DISEASE & FARMERS' LIABILITY - UK
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 17:51:43 -0600
Source: News Media (edited)
The British Parliament is expected to approve a measure in March that
would make British farmers directly liable for compensation for any
illness caused by the food they produce. This means that a victim of
food poisoning could sue a farmer if the source of the infection could
be traced to a particular foodstuff and farm. A plaintiff would be
required merely to establish a causal link but not to prove any fault
or negligence on the part of the farmer. Since the mid-1980s the
principle of strict liability has applied to manufacturers but not to
primary producers. Amending the British Consumer Protection Act would
be required to incorporate such an amendment into British law.
Alison Lindley, principal lawyer at the Consumers' Association, said:
"It should give an extra incentive for supermarkets and food
processors to insist on the traceability of the products they sell."
The National Farmers' Union is worried about several aspects. "There
are potentially serious difficulties with food such as grain or milk,
where the produce of many different farmers is bulked up,"said Tessa
Crago, head of food and marketing. "We want assurances that farmers
would not be liable for environmental hazards outside their control."
Farmers would have the so-called "state of the art" defense -- that
their product was safe as judged by the state of scientific and
technical knowledge at the time it was sold.
[The implications are far reaching and perhaps unenforceable. However,
it will generate many law suits and headaches. It totally neglects the
aspect that most food mishandling/poisoning comes from the consumer*s
home, not the producer. It also neglects to account for the aspect of
processing plants, such as butchers, and restaurant establishments. It
forces the question: What happens if someone becomes ill from
restaurant food? Is the fault of the eating establishment, or the
producer? How is this expected law going to handle such cases as
these? It is regrettable that the law does not take a firmer stand
with regard to proof instead of its apparent superficial approach of a
*casual link*. I wonder how many British farmers will decide that this
is an excellent time to cease farming. Will that have an impact on
their food production for the nation? I can only hope that US law
makers will not follow the British and diminish an already decreasing
food producing resource.] ....................................tg/es -
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
Dennis: Anarcho-syndicalism is a way of *preserving* freedom!
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