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The Justice Department Lost its Appetite for Food Contamination

The Fed steps up enforcement, and food producers scramble for better safeguards.

Washington is sinking its teeth into the food industry through criminal charges, fines and convictions levied against food and food service companies, and these companies are being held increasingly more accountable for widespread contaminations.

Spotlighting the concern was ConAgra Foods Inc., which paid a record $11.2 million fine and pleaded guilty to federal charges related to a 2006 salmonella outbreak. The case marks the fourth such conviction in just two years – the same number of food-related charges handed down by the DOJ since 1988.