Partner Glenn Pogust Describes the Government Shutdown’s Affect on Food Safety in Corporate Counsel
Corporate Counsel reports on the current government shutdown and its impact on federal agencies and the services they provide. One agency that has been affected is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has substantially decreased its inspections of both food manufactured in the United States and food imported from other countries. In the absence of these inspections, how should companies dealing with food handle safety?
According to Kaye Scholer Product Liability Partner Glenn Pogust, “there are still safety nets that companies can rely on, like their own quality-control mechanisms.” He adds, “I just think that anybody who’s involved in this industry has to be able to know for themselves that they have done as complete a job as they can.”
Pogust notes that US companies that import food tend to already exercise care and quality control on their own, because they know that they can be held responsible if someone becomes ill from the product they distribute. “If something happens, no one is going to sue the farm company in Argentina, they are going to sue the company bringing the product into the United States,” he says.
Pogust adds that he “has faith in the FDA’s abilities to respond in the event of a food emergency, even during the shutdown.” However, he does believe that those in the food industry should be extra careful “in order to compensate for the fact that federal inspectors will almost certainly not be showing up until funding is restored.”
During the shutdown, it will also be “crucial” for companies to record their quality control problems and solutions, continues Pogust. “This, in the worst-case scenario, will help companies avoid liability,” he concludes.