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For Now, Lawyers Are Consumers' Only Hope

May 28, 2003

It has long been fashionable to label consumer lawsuits as trivial, court-clogging, lawyer-enriching nuisances. But as "Fixing Something Fishy" (editorial, May 23) points out, the Food and Drug Administration failed to enforce its own regulation that requires labeling of farm-raised fish as artificially colored. The supermarket chains knew the rule yet chose to ignore it until a suit was filed by a Seattle law firm.

Those who want to slash the federal government's enforcement powers while restricting remedies through the courts leave the consumer in the dark and without any counterweight to the power of big business. I, for one, want to know if my food has been chemically altered and what with. As the editorial notes, consumers shouldn't need lawsuits to find out what rules are being ignored. But for now, lawyers -- much maligned as greedy and opportunistic -- appear to be our only hope.

Trudy Mahoney Sassaman

Riverside

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