Food: Our Survival Strategy

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By M.C. Linthoingambee

Even with the increasing count of deadlock of the storm of tragedies which occurred in Uttarkhand because of the ravage of flood owing to the unconditional climate shift all across, the nation is once again inclined to yet another unexpected tragedy to the rise of death tolls of school going children of the Gandaman Primary School who consumed mid day meals on Tuesday in Chapra(Bihar). Through the flickered incandescent laughter which is now possessed with dread, the parents of those gone went over turmoil of complete agony owing to the sudden restructured losses. The Government has ordered for investigations to be set in order but little is known of where that road might lead.

In the event of all these abrupt occurrences The Hindu reported yet another shocking revelation titled, “In Chapra hospitals, no doctors, no needles, no water” on Friday quoting that when little Kajal complained of a stomach ache and her brother rushed her to the hospital, the brother watch her die in front of his very eyes when the doctor ravaged stating that there had not been enough oxygen in the hospital for everyone and marked that they were low on supplies. Such incidents are intriguing results of a mistake, the certain clumsiness we posses while befitted with the role of a responsibility.

The safety of food is becoming a questionable agenda with the count of the increasing use of pesticides in bearing the products of labor. Agriculture is one of the main sources of income in India, the poor farmers earns their daily bread while draining themselves in the sun with hard work all day long. In spite of all these infusions, there is no longer a guarantee in determining that the food we consume is kept from harm’s way. The question is whether the food stock kept in goddowns are properly stacked and taken care of.  There have been reports one after another of unhealthy stones being found and borne in the food supplies provided for the purpose of feeding the little children who shelters in the care of Angnawadis (baby-care centers), the reports of greedy merchants who do not distribute goods for consumption provided by the Government like: oil, kerosene, sugar, rice, etc which are to be distributed to holders of specific ration cards. These merchants keep part of the proceeds for sale as vendors. Is this the development we so preach over each day?

In the downturn of all the events spoken or non spoken we must highly regard and remember that the Constitution of India provides for Right to Life and personal liberty under Article 21 which gives full right to a person who is a citizen of the land to be protected and nurtured the of our lives. Malnutrition is one of the common problems faced by third world and developing countries. A proper balanced diet in a day’s meal is a daily requirement for growing children and for such purpose the Government started the system of providing free meals to the poor families that come to safeguard the little ideology of getting an education at the Government aided Government schools. But these deliberate effects of the crash-course given for in the Government schools are not up to the mark of upholding the self preached and followed principles of a private school.

But the general law per say is whether we have a case on the go? Under a natural occurrence of an illness cause by food poisoning, the claim for it relies on the circumstances of that particular case. But if a certain product had been termed to contain or harness a poisonous substance as declared by a reliable source of Government findings, then it would be easier for the victim to claim for compensation of a wrongful act.

In the legal outlook there are different theories of liabilities which can be issued when food poisoning occurs. Food poisoning lawsuits generally fall under the category of defective product liability claims wherein the dealer of a particular product has sold us a defective product (food) that injured (poisoned) you. There is a process called the Strict Product Liability wherein the question of proving just extends to the idea of showing that the food we just had was indeed contaminated, it being the cause of your illness. The second agenda is to argue that the other side has caused harm due to his negligence in supplying or producing the intended product of consumption wherein he has failed to exercise reasonable in delivery. The third agenda is the breach of warranties wherein the product fails to deliver the promised provided in the details of the packet. But the general outline for winning a lawsuit of food poisoning lies greatly in proving that the food you ate was contaminated, and the contamination indeed made you sick.

The general person responsible for supplying claims includes all parties in the chain of delivery extending from the manufacturer, supplier, dealer, retailer, etc In food poisoning cases, you will need to trace the contamination to its source; anyone involved in the chain of distribution of a food product at or after the point of contamination may be liable.

In the case of a large number of victims of an outbreak of food poisoning, you may be able to band together and file a class action lawsuit like that of the food poisoning of mid day meals in Chapra or the illness occurred due to consumption of Iron Tablets reported on Friday in Delhi. Depending on your case, you may wish to retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in personal injury (some personal injury lawyers even specialize in food poisoning cases). But it must be crucial to remember that in spite of all the indecisions it is best and absolutely crucial that we take utmost care of our intakes. We as people residing should look into the harm caused in the air, water, land and derive a measure of saving and uplifting cleanliness.

(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)

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