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Food Safety Regulation and Litigation: Minimizing the Risk of Product Liability Claims

Mastering the Standards for Fault, Causation, and Damages in Food Safety Litigation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide product liability counsel with a review of the latest regulatory and case law developments related to food safety. The panel will examine critical issues in food safety litigation, explain the standards for fault, causation, and damages, and offer best practices to defend these lawsuits.


The Centers for Disease Control estimates over 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. and 3,000 deaths each year. To contain this perceived epidemic, federal regulators have implemented several measures over the last few years, including preventive controls, import and export rules, produce safety standards, regulations on administrative detention, and rules on product tracking and sanitary transportation under the Food Safety Modernization Act administered by the FDA. These new laws will affect how cases are handled.

Food safety litigation can be costly and time-consuming. Jury verdicts often reach millions of dollars and garner negative media attention. Successfully defending a food safety claim hinges upon mastering the unique standards.

Foodborne illness liability requires the establishment of fault and causation by the plaintiff. Counsel for both parties must understand the scientific link between the foodborne illness, the alleged harm to a plaintiff, and the defendant's product to litigate food safety lawsuits.

Counsel must also understand how to assess damages. The financial liability of all parties involved, the anticipation of plaintiffs' future medical costs, and defendants' insurance coverage play a crucial role in determining damages.

Listen as our authoritative panel of product liability attorneys discusses the latest developments in food safety regulation and litigation and defines the standards for establishing fault and causation and proving damages. The panel will explain best practices to defend food safety lawsuits.



  1. Regulatory and compliance requirements in food safety
    1. Recent developments under the Food Safety Modernization Act
    2. Statutes/regulations
  2. How these rules impact product liability law
    1. Increased record-keeping
    2. Public notification
  3. Proposition 65
  4. Class actions in the food safety context
  5. The food safety product liability claim
    1. A brief overview of the science surrounding food safety issues
    2. Delineating fault
    3. Defining a scientific causal link
  6. How to pay for a food safety problem
    1. Types of costs a food liability problem can cause
    2. Role of insurance and other risk-spreading tools
    3. Early steps to take when claims or recalls occur
    4. What your company or client can do now to prepare


The panel will review these and other noteworthy issues:

  • What measures have regulators taken to reign in the increasing number of foodborne illness incidents?
  • What are the standards for liability and negligence, and which defendants are held to each standard in food safety litigation?
  • How does available insurance coverage influence how counsel approaches the legal issues involved?
  • What is the role of expert witnesses in establishing causation and determining damages?


McStay, P. Andrew
P. Andrew McStay, Jr.

Davis Wright Tremaine

Mr. McStay defends food industry clients against food safety claims, including against class action claims. He...  |  Read More

Bousquet, Kim
Kim Bousquet

Thompson Coburn

Ms. Bousquet routinely handles litigation and pre-litigation disputes for companies in the agriculture, agribusiness,...  |  Read More

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