Penalties to rise for food violations

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February 4, 2009

Penalties for violations of Oregon's food-safety laws would increase to $10,000, but not $25,000, under a bill heard Tuesday by the Senate Consumer Protection and Public Affairs Committee.

Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, said the proposed maximum would be amended to make it consistent with what other agencies can levy against violators. She said the committee would act on the bill later.

"We see this as another tool in our toolbox to regulate food safety," said Lisa Hanson, deputy director of Oregon Department of Agriculture, which oversees food safety.

Shawn Miller, who represents the Northwest Grocery Association, said he has a different view.

"It simply brings unlicensed farms into compliance," he said, because most food handlers are aware of state inspections.

Peter Wong



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