Death by Apple Juice: The Problem of Foodborne Illness, the Regulatory Response, and Further Suggestions for Reform
Food and Drug Law Journal, Vol. 681, No. 53, 1998
Posted: 22 Apr 2005
One of the greatest challenges facing regulatory government today concerns the safety of the food supply. Few Americans realize the extent and severity of the danger posed by foodborne pathogens. While many of these microorganisms are not new, changes in food production, preparation, and consumption patterns have resulted in unprecedented opportunities for the widespread transmission of foodborne illness. Unfortunately, this problem is predicted to intensify in the years to come.
Part I of this article explores the foodborne illness problem in detail, with special attention to recent outbreaks, possible contributing factors, and the historical regulatory approach. Part II discusses the federal government's response, including President Clinton's Food Safety Initiative. Part III provides a critique of government action and further suggestions for reform.
The American food supply is unquestionably the safest in the world. Compared to other countries, American consumers enjoy an unparalleled variety of high quality foods at relatively low prices. Even so, it is believed that millions become ill and thousands die each year from the consumption of government-regulated foods. [FN3] Indeed, the technology necessary to better identify the scope of the danger presented by foodborne illness is just now developing.
Keywords: food, pathogen, bacteria, regulation, FDA
JEL Classification: G18, G28, G38, I18, K2, L5, L51, N4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation