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Is a Restaurant Liable If It Serves Horse Meat?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Consumers have been shocked and horrified in the past few months as reports surface about horse meat found in various well-known restaurants across Europe, including Ikea’s cafeteria-style restaurants, Burger King and Taco Bell. Many Americans worry whether a similar scandal could happen here in the United States and, if so, whether restaurants could be liable for serving horse meat.

No evidence of horse meat being mixed into ground beef has surfaced in the United States, but several horse advocacy groups have conducted their own tests of ground beef to determine whether they contain horse meat. Moreover, the New York Times reported that shipping documents showed that horse meat passed through at least one United States port – the Port of Houston – on its way from slaughterhouses in Mexico to destinations in Europe.

Health officials have stated that consumption of horse meat poses no health risks, though it does amount to fraudulent labeling. Product liability laws protect consumers not only from dangerous and defective products, but also against fraudulent labeling or warranties that a product is what the label says it is. In other words, if horse meat were to found in U.S. restaurants and grocery stores, liability would largely depend on whether the restaurant or grocery knew or should have known that they were serving horse meat and passing it off as another meat product.

The Chicago product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are knowledgeable about both product liability laws and class action lawsuits that may come into play when a manufacturer or food supplier engages in fraudulent labeling like that involved with horse meat in Europe. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about product liability laws from an experienced Chicago consumer protection lawyer.

Categories: Personal Injury