There are many benefits that our modern food system has to offer, including the ability to ship produce around the globe so that we can enjoy some of our favorite fare throughout the year. This same benefit, however, also exposes consumers to hidden dangers. It’s not always a guarantee that imported food products were produced according to the same food safety standards adopted in the United States.
Recently, China and the European Union ceased imports of meat from Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter, after police officials alleged that some of the inspectors may be accepting bribes to approve salmonella-contaminated or rotten meats for export. The announcement came as part of an anti-corruption probe in Brazil. Inspectors play a key role in ensuring the safety of meat products, preventing contaminated or diseased meat from entering the food supply and helping to enforce food safety regulations at processing plants.
The police force orchestrated 200 raids involving 1,100 officers in an operation dubbed “carne fraca” in an attempt to obtain additional evidence to corroborate the bribery claims. Following the raids, the police stated that they verified 40 cases of suspected bribery or other wrongdoing, including adding chemicals to expired meat to improve the smell or adding flour or cardboard to sausages to increase volume.
The government responded to the accusation by saying it is false and that it is based on only a few isolated cases. In the meantime, the Brazilian Agriculture Minister suspended exports from 21 meat processing facilities in the country. There are over 4,800 meat processing facilities in Brazil, and the country exports meat products to 150 countries. China’s suspension of meat imports has serious implications for Brazil because China imports roughly one-third of Brazil’s meat exports, accounting for nearly $14 billion.
The announcement has many consumers concerned about the safety and integrity of the meat they purchase and consume. If you become ill as the result of consuming contaminated food, you can bring a personal injury claim against the producer, manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or preparer of the food to collect compensation for your injuries. When it comes to preparing food, individuals have a duty to ensure that it is handled and stored in a safe manner and to take reasonable precautions to prevent contamination. They must also comply with any food safety regulations. In cases involving the intentional adulteration of food, the plaintiff may be able to collect punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for reckless, wanton, or willful misconduct while discouraging other similarly situated individuals from engaging in the same behaviors.
At Moll Law Group, our knowledgeable and dedicated team of food contamination lawyers have handled numerous personal injury lawsuits on behalf of injury victims throughout the United States, including Florida, New York, and California. Determining the source of your foodborne illness, collecting evidence, and asserting your rights can be a daunting process, especially when working with large and powerful companies. Our team of legal professionals will stand by you through each step of the litigation and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online.