Food Poisoning Research Assignment: What's in Your Food? (Essay Sample)
Over the years, we have studied product recalls, from toy manufactures to tainted food grade products. Some of the cases have involved injury and even death of a consumer who trusted the product, only to have the product introduce lethal doses of poisons (or allergens) into the body. One such case was right here in the Central Valley in 1996. “During the course of the public health investigation into the outbreak, a genetically indistinguishable strain of E. coli O157:H7 that had been isolated from case-patients was found in a bottle of unpasteurzied Odwalla apple juice. Although subsequent investigation by federal and state agencies was unable to pinpoint the exact source of the E. coli bacteria at Odwalla’s Dinuba, California plant, investigators from FDA did find numerous violations of health and safety codes at the Odwalla manufacturing plant, including lack of proper sanitizing procedures and poor employee hygiene. The FDA also found that the plant accepted decayed fruit from suppliers.
In a most recent case of the Blue Bell Ice Cream products in Kansas, “The CDC recently announced that 3 people have died and 2 others are sick after eating Listeria-contaminated Blue Bell Ice Cream products in Kansas. Listeria contaminated Blue Bell Products have also been found in Texas and South Carolina after the CDC tested the companies facilities there; no one has been reported sick in those states as of now. Listeria poisoning can be deadly, especially to the elderly, young people, pregnant women and those with compromised immune symptoms are at a higher risk than others of becoming ill.
The company issued a statement, saying it has recalled the products in question and determined that the contamination occurred during production from a machine used to shape the ice cream into cookies and forms. The machine has been taken off line and production is currently stopped. Most retailers and supermarkets have removed the product already, but you can check against the list below to make sure. The Lessons of a Deadly Ice Cream Recall, by: Jesse Newman, Aug 05, 2015.
For this first discussion, you are to use the research listed below as a starting place. You are encouraged to conduct your own research as well into this matter. Then once you’ve done that, make sure that you add your own thread answering ALL the questions of the case. Then, participate in a minimum of three discussion threads with your fellow peers.
Foodborne Illness (Food Poisoning) – What is food poisoning?
Types of Liability & Injury Lawsuits for Food Poisoning (Learn about the different legal theories under which a business could be held liable (and sued) for food poisoning.)
Odwalla E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Western States (1996)
Blue Bell Ice Cream recalls all products amid listeria outbreak (+video)
2015 Deadly Ice Cream Recall: Who’s At Risk & What To Do
3 PR lessons from Blue Bell's massive ice cream recall
Acceptable risk, By Paul R. Hunter and Lorna Fewtrel
Bt Corn: The Popular Food that Turns Your Gut into a Pesticide Factory (View video, “Robyn O’Brien shares her personal story and how it inspired her to become a Real Food evangelist. Her journey started when one of her children had a dangerous allergic reaction to a "typical" breakfast.)
Legal Issues for Food Safety What every food professional should know, By William Marler, Food Law and Guidance
QUESTIONS for Your Papers:
Please address the following questions within your paper. Please keep in mind that this is NOT a Q&A paper, so please write it in an MLA paper format!
Write an introduction paragraph; a brief overview as to what happened, why it happened, and what issues are being presented. Be sure and be specific, giving court names, names and titles of individuals, dates etc., as necessary. Please remember that this is a college paper. Your paper will require a cover sheet and a citations page. You need to review all of the necessary requirements as stated in the syllabus!
1. “Most states have some form of strict products liability. In contaminated food cases, a plaintiff must show that the food served by the restaurant or bought at the store was defective and unreasonably dangerous. It must also be shown that the defective and unreasonably dangerous food caused the illness. There is no requirement of showing lack of reasonable care (this is the main way that strict products liability differs from negligence). A business can be liable under strict products liability for selling the contaminated food. In fact, everyone in the chain of distribution can be sued, including the food distributor, retailer, wholesaler, and manufacturer.” Types of Liability & Injury Lawsuits for Food Poisoning. Given this issue of strict liability, how extensive should product quality testing be prior to releasing it to the public? Does it differ for different product types? Compare and contrast internal quality testing versus hiring an independent agency to perform quality testing versus government sponsored testing. List advantages and disadvantages of each.
2. When should quality defects be reported to the public? What are the criteria for determining when a quality defect should be reported? What is the responsibility of the manufacturer? When should a recall be issued? When should a warning label be used? When should a national ad campaign be used? Who should be responsible for making these decisions?
3. Review and read the document called “Acceptable Risk” (2001 World Health Organization (WHO). Pay close attention to the section labeled, 10.4 A DISEASE BURDEN APPROACH. In everyday life individual risks are rarely considered, but the fact of the matter is, there are risks involved in eating processed foods and bottled water. “The notion that there is some level of risk that everyone will find acceptable is a difficult idea to reconcile and yet, without such a baseline, how can it ever be possible to set guideline values and standards, given that life can never be risk-free? Since zero risk is completely unachievable, this chapter outlines some of the problems of achieving a measure of ‘acceptable’ risk by examining a number of standpoints from which the problem can be approached.” Acceptable risk
To what lengths should food or bottle water companies pursue safety for their employees? For customers? For the environment? As a risk manager of such a company, what probability of death is acceptable (realizing that 0% probability is impossible)? What probability of minor/major injury is acceptable? What can the food industry do to prevent injury, illness or even death to consumers?
4. The food industry is huge, and the supply chain for getting food from the field to the consumers table requires that the food be inspected at each stage of the process. Describe several scenarios where ethical decisions may have to be made, with regard to quality or safety. Describe how you would organize your operation in terms of how you choose growers, suppliers, brokers, and venders.
5. In conclusion, what types of procedures and processes would you put into place to ensure quality and safety to the consumer? How would you assure and notify the public that your product takes the greatest of care in processing and producing goods that meet the highest of safety standards?
What's in Your Food?
Food poisoning is a serious health risk that happens when a person ingests a number of different bacteria in their body like E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria (Lawyers and Settlements). Food illnesses occur due to chemical contamination, negligence and bad sanitation. Affected customers may choose to sue restaurants, manufacturers, and food distributors under negligence, breach of warranty and strict policy liability charges (Goguen). 13 affected customers sued Odwalla Company, after a strain of E.coli O157:H7 caused illnesses that came from the unpasteurized apple juice that the company produces. It led to deaths and kidney disorders. This happened because the company failed to adhere to the health and safety codes at their manufacturing plant. The company also lacked the effective procedures for sanitization, and their employees were of poor hygiene (Clark).
On the 19th of May, 2015, the plaintiff, David Philip Shockley and his team of lawyers filed Case 1:15-cv-00425-LY in the United States District Court, Western district of Texas, Austin division, against Blue bell; Defendants, on the widespread contamination of Blue Bell brands of ice cream, which contained a deadly pathogen called Listeria (Flaherty and Tillotson 1). David had consumed Blue Bell ice cream that contained listeria bacteria and thereafter, he had a listeriosis infection that affected his blood, and caused adverse damages to his brain, making him unconscious and close to succumbing to death. He underwent neurological treatments and therapy, but he still suffered from the injuries that were permanent to his neurological system (2). Blue Bell had a breach of implied warranties (30), negligence (27), and strict product liability (25). BlueBell had not implemented safety and sanitation programs that would have prevented the ice cream contamination. Blue Bell also had inadequate product and environmental testing, poor sanitization of their equipment, poorly trained and supervised employees, and they did not implement any procedures of food safety that would have prevented cross contamination and the breeding of listeria bacteria (3).
Product quality testing
Strict product liability presents a legal rule that points fingers to the sellers, manufactures and distributors of defective products that a consumer would get an injury or an illness from, regardless of whether the defendants tried to inhibit the defects in the products from happening (Goguen). This calls for an extensive and intensive quality product testing before the company can release the product to the market. Product testing should ensure that the distribution chain is sticking to the safety and health protocols. From the producer, manufacturer, supplier and retailers, there should be strict contract agreement on safety standards that should be complied with, since if one part of the chain fails, the rest could suffer too. Each stakeholder should also have enough product and liability insurance. The records of the distribution and purchases should be accurate and timely, in order to look back at ingredients and be able to trace the point at which the contamination happened. The inspection records could also be maintained openly to avoid speculation on sanitation and food production. Furthermore, Company cleanliness should be maintained and prioritized in all sectors including the employees. The sanitation team could be given a significant role in ensuring that cleanliness and sanitization is done appropriately and as scheduled. Finally, the company should work with the health departments in the government or non-government sectors, to ensure cordial relationship in the flow of information, as this will reduce damages and expedite investigations. Working with the health departments shows transparency and increases t...
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