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Justice Department threatens to prosecute companies selling contaminated food

Alex Van Buren is the former host of an award-nominated television segment, the New York Chow Report, in her home of New York City. She has written for Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Martha Stewart Living, and InStyle, among other publications. S...

The Justice Department is as tired of all these food recalls as you are and has stepped up prosecution efforts

Been feeling like all your most beloved foods have been recalled lately?

First listeria shows up in your favorite ice cream (or your other favorite ice cream), then your go-to frozen chicken dinner gets yanked from supermarket shelves.

Well, the Justice Department is annoyed too, warning Monday that companies could face criminal and civil penalties for contaminated food. Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery told the Associated Press, “We have made a priority holding individuals and companies responsible when they fail to live up to their obligations that they have to protect the safety of the food that all of us eat.”

The department has recently bumped up prosecution efforts in this department, pursuing a Peanut Corporation of America executive who was found to have shipped out salmonella-contaminated products in 2008 and 2009 and getting a conviction last year for conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Delery wouldn’t tell the AP whether the Justice Department would pursue Blue Bell, the Texas company whose ice cream has been connected with three deaths and that a Food and Drug Administration investigation found to have known of the contamination.

What do you think? Should the Justice Department be taking these companies to court?

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