“Natural” Food and Artificial Injustice – Toward a Fair Liability Standard
Please see my recently-published article in Plaintiff Magazine regarding the liability standards that apply in California for food-related personal injuries.
The Mexicali Rose decision allows plaintiffs to state some previously non-cognizable negligence claims against restaurants that serve injury-causing food. Mexicali Rose v. Sup. Ct. (Clark), 1 Cal.4th 617, 621 (1992) (“Mexicali Rose”). However, if the injury resulted from a substance that was “natural to the preparation of the food,” then strict liability and breach of warranty claims remain barred. Id. at 630.
In light of food processing and safety changes that have occurred since this 1992 decision, the artificial, vague, and unworkable distinction between foreign and purportedly natural substances should be overruled. A fair measure of justice should be available for all consumers, based on their reasonable expectations for the food served.