For two decades, Seattle attorney Bill Marler has focused on foodborne illness cases. But outside of the courtroom, he has pushed for an overhaul of the nation’s food safety system.
His efforts were rewarded Tuesday when President Obama signed a $1.4 billion food safety bill. But Marler is concerned Republicans will not fund the new law.
“It’s vital that they fund it,” he said. “It’s really a manpower thing. It’s to get more inspectors, more boots on the ground.”
The new law gives federal regulators power to recall unsafe products and requires food manufacturers to prepare detailed food safety plans.
It will require more government inspections, something that’s important to Marler.
“The American people would be shocked to see what I see when I go into a facility that has caused a foodborne illness outbreak,” Marler said.
In addition to preventing outbreaks, the new law aims to catch outbreaks as quickly as possible by setting up regional centers around the country to investigate cases of foodborne illness.
“If we do a better job of surveying illnesses, we’re going to catch foodborne illness outbreaks sooner,” Marler said.
Ironically, if the bill is successful, Marler will have fewer clients in the future. But that’s alright by him.
“I’m happy to go do something else,” he said.