Georgia Department of Agriculture seeking public comments on proposed fines for food safety violations; regulations should be set by early summer

ATLANTA , May 20, 2011 () – Food processors in Georgia who don't conduct mandatory tests for contamination or hide the results would face thousands of dollars in fines under proposed regulations.

Officials at the Georgia Department of Agriculture said Monday they are taking public comments on regulations implementing the fines, which were part of legislation passed by lawmakers. The regulations should be set by early summer.

The fines give teeth to a law requiring that food processors test for contamination and report problematic results to state authorities. Failing to test products as required could bring a $5,000 fine for each violation. Hiding a test showing contamination would cost $7,500 for every violation.

State law makes knowingly shipping contaminated products a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $20,000 fine.

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