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The death penalty for food crimes?

chinadeath penaltye. colifdafoodlettucemelaminemilkpeanutspoisoningsalmonellaspinach

Cabbage I'd agree with the officials of the municipality of Chongqing in China that fines don't appear to be enough to make agribusiness clean up its food-safety act. And killing people by tampering with their food is indeed a form of homicide. But fortunately, this country isn't likely to go the route of that Chinese city by making the death penalty one of the possible punishments.

China Daily reports that the city has made it clear the death penalty is a possibility when it comes to criminal tampering. But China already has imposed that sentence for food crimes. Two years ago, the people responsible for putting melamine in milk powder, poisoning thousands of babies in order to enrich themselves, were sentenced to death as well. Melamine, a cheap substance used to manufacture dishes and other products, falsely boosts protein readings.

Still, China has a point. Not about the death penalty. But officials at corporations who knowingly allow unsafe conditions to prevail at their farms or plants, and who sicken or kill consumers as a result, should be facing more than lawsuits and administrative slaps on the wrist. Why shouldn't they face the same criminal fate as other people who similarly harm others? I'm talking about companies with repeated violations for filth, or those that ship out food despite testing that has found salmonella or other contamination. Isn't that much the same as driving drunk?


Should there be a 'fat tax'?

Should canned foods come with a warning label?

Ban caffeine or risk 'White Christmas' syndrome

Remembering the fight of the South Central Farmers

Moviegoers should know they're consuming a tub of calories

--Karin Klein

Photo: Unsalable cabbages are seen at a field on April 25, 2011, in Shanghai, China. Credit: ChinaFotoPress /Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (5)

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Kelly M Bray

If we are worried about justice, should the entire Chinese Communist Party leadership be executed for the millions of deaths they are responsible for? Or for looking the other way when these things were happening?


Althogh some people are pro capital punishment and some are against this sort of punishment,for some offenders in some socities other types of punishment can not be effective.irrespective of harsh aspects of death penalty it can deter all people who are potential to commit the crime.to sacrifice ONE who has sacrifised ONE OR MORE in ORDER TO SAVE society can not be critisized in all cases.


An idea whose time has come. Congress should stop protecting murder's and convict the terrorists who run the narco-pharmaceutical industrial complex for knowingly murdering our Citizens, and legalize drugs that have never killed a single soul. Let us not forget Monsanto who is knowingly contaminating our food supply.


This is a form of regulation by discouragement. Haven't you heard? Regulation is bad. It undermines the free market. The free market would naturally root out corporations that tamper with their product when their customers--or those left living--opt for alternatives. The free market is always in the best interest of corpor--er, consumers.

leslie piper

I would be in favor of the death penalty for bribing the Supreme Court, but now that Weiner fell into the electronic 'honey trap', Koch doesn't have to worry about bribing a jury on THAT one. For awhile.

Wonder what the Kochs will be wearing when the FBI frog-marches them in perpwalk mode? Thomas ? Et tu, Brute...

It will be tough, all those stitches from laughing so hard and celebrating American freedom again, our liberties once again guaranteed by an impartial Court, not for Sale to billionaire boys.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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