Vol 5 No 1 (2018)

Manufacturer, Supermarket, and Grocer Liability for Contaminated Food and Beverages due to Negligence, Warranty, and Liability Laws

Frank J. Cavico
The H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship Nova Southeastern University
Bahaudin G. Mujtaba
Nova Southeastern University
Stephen Muffler
University of Miami
Marissa Samuel
Columbia University
Nicolas-Michel Polito
Fairleigh Dickenson University
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  • Food manufacturer,
  • Food contamination,
  • Food adulteration,
  • Negligence,
  • Warranty,
  • Wholesomeness,
  • Strict liability,
  • Defect.
  • ...More


Foodborne illnesses linked to Salmonella, Norovirus, Listeria, and Escherichia coli (E. Coli) are a serious problem people all over the world as they tend to negatively impact about ten to fifteen percent of every population. In this article, we focus on who is legally responsible for the proper handling of foods and the legal redress harmed consumers have in recovering damages. This article examines three legal doctrines that the injured consumer can use to sue parties on the food chain – the common law tort of negligence, warranty law based on statutory law – the Uniform Commercial Code, and the common law tort of strict liability. The article provides a legal overview of the three legal doctrines wherein basic principles and elements are set forth and illustrated, while examining them in the context of recent food and beverage case law involving manufacturers, supermarkets, and grocers. Based on the legal analysis, the knowledge and experience of the authors, as well as insights gained from legal and management commentary, the authors discuss the implications of food and beverage liability for employers and managers in the food chain. Finally, we provide recommendations to employers and managers on how to properly handle safety standards in order to avoid liability for foodborne illnesses and accidents.