A Uniform commercial code (UCC) creates an implied warranty confirming the merchantability of foods. According to which merchantability of any goods means “goods having the reasonable criteria for the required purpose, i.e., properly packaged goods with average quality. Implied warranty of merchantability comes under the preview of section 2-314 of UCC, and it provides guidelines to all the merchants concerning that good. The section follows that “merchantability of goods is implied in a contract for sale if that seller is a merchant concerning that good.” To pass for merchantability, the goods must follow all but a maximum of six general standards mentioned therein in the said section.
Under the said section, selling or serving food or drink comes under the definition of sale. Thus implied warranty of merchantability must be provided for selling or buying food.
Test for Merchantability
The US court has noted down two tests for checking merchantability of food from several judicial pronouncements. These tests prove that whether warranty terms were breached or not. Foreign natural tests and Reasonable exception tests consider the elements contained for the desired result.
Foreign natural test: – In this test, the manufacturing process comes into question. It states that food must be natural and free of foreign objects. The object must be of such nature that an ordinary consumer will not question the presence of such in the final product. Any foreign object leads to a breach of the warranty, provided an object of natural essence does not constitute a breach. Some judicial pronouncements declared this test as unsound and unreasonable. The test only focuses on neutrality, but there are chances of a natural substance causing Injury.
Reasonable exception test:- This is fitted for a more commonly used test. This test focuses on the product which is reasonably expected by the consumer, not on the foreign /natural element in it during the preparation. It imposes a duty on the defendant to remove such harmful substances from the served food during the preparation. Such substance should not be anticipated by the consumer in the food served.
Other Regulatory Measures
The US Food and Drug Administration focuses on four steps to avoid food poisoning. Those are clean, separate, cook and chill. Other statutes such as the Magnuson-moss Act and the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) provide specific guidelines to ensure the merchantability of food. The federal trade commission has enforced the Magnus-Moss Act, which is a consumer protection law. It contains provisions regarding implied warranties for merchantability of food in written form for the sale of goods. It imposes an obligation on manufactures to warrant their good’s merchantability.
The CISG (Article 35) ensures that the quantity, quality, and description of goods required by the contract be delivered by the seller in the required manner. The goods must contain a quality similar to the sample given to the buyer.