Food Safety Crime Bill Clears Senate

April 21, 2011

By Ricardo Carvajal

The Senate has adopted legislation that would strengthen criminal penalties "for any individual or corporation that knowingly endangers American lives by contaminating the food supply by distributing misbranded or tainted food products" (see Sen. Leahy's press release here).  The legislation provides for fines and imprisonment for up to ten years for any person that commits certain prohibited acts "with respect to any food… knowingly and intentionally to defraud or mislead… and… with conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury."  The bill will now be taken up by the House.  As we noted in a prior posting, this year's version of the legislation raises the bar for prosecutors.  That should enhance its chances of becoming law.