ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia House has approved a bill that puts teeth in a food safety bill that cleared the Legislature last year.
It was prompted by a 2009 salmonella outbreak that originated in a south Georgia peanut processing plant, sickened hundreds and was linked to the deaths of at least nine people.
On Tuesday the House voted 142-20 to approve a bill from Rep. Kevin Levitas, an Atlanta Democrat, that would make it a felony to knowingly distribute a tainted food product. Violators could face up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
A law that passed last year requires plants to alert state inspectors within 24 hours if internal tests show their products are tainted. The new bill would make the failure to do so a misdemeanor.