Over the last few weeks, two big stories have made headlines in the food industry. Beginning in early February, news media across Europe began reporting that food products tested in several European countries contained horsemeat, purportedly marketed as beef. The reports also indicated that it was highly likely that consumers had eaten this mislabeled, and in some cases tainted, product. A few weeks later, word came that the U.S. Department of Justice handed down a 76-count indictment against individuals formerly associated with the Peanut Corp. of America related to the company’s handling of a Salmonella outbreak in 2009. Both of these stories reflect the increased awareness of food issues among consumers, regulatory agencies and the media alike, and also provide lessons to be learned by food producers. The Peanut Corp. of America case is also part of a trend to criminalize conduct involving food safety that is alleged to present a danger to the public.

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