February 27, 2020

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Insurance for Food Recall

Consumers in today's society are well-educated and carry a heightened expectation that the food they consume will not only be safe, but will be healthy. For food companies to cater to these heightened standards, extraordinary diligence of their food and food-supply chain is required. Any significant lapses will likely result in a recall, potentially followed by consumers' bodily injury and downstream customers' property damage claims. A food company will then be assessing its own first-party property and recall-related damages as well, and may even need to respond to an FDA/DOJ follow-on investigation. 

The food company will look to its "food recall" insurers to assist with the crisis and to defend and indemnify any and all claims. Coverage disputes already arise under commercial general liability policies regarding whether there has been "bodily injury" or "property damage" in food contamination claims; and now that the number and breadth of food contamination incidents are increasing. Other types of insurance policies that may provide some "food recall" coverage are similarly being tested. Specialized product contamination policies are being purchased to specifically deal with the exposure, but even these policies must be closely scrutinized due to the varying policy language.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

Arthur S. Garrett III, Keller Heckman, National Litigation Attorney, Insurance Coverage Lawyer,
Partner and General Counsel

Arthur Garrett joined Keller and Heckman in 1990. Mr. Garrett is co-chair of Keller and Heckman's national litigation practice, along with Robert S. Niemann. He also serves as the Firm's General Counsel.

Mr. Garrett's litigation practice focuses on product liability, with an emphasis on defending manufacturers of food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. His trial experience has taken him all over the United States to try cases in state and federal courts and mediate/arbitrate disputes on behalf of corporations and trade associations. Mr. Garrett was...