Dr. Raymond does a blog (or at least he used to) over at www.meatingplace.com. I am stealing one he did today below:
I think almost every reader of this blog knows OF Bill Marler, but I wonder how many readers really KNOW Bill Marler?
For sure, he is the most prominent and recognizable plaintiffs’ attorney in foodborne illness litigation (and also non-foodborne illnesses such as petting zoos, drinking water, etc.) but he is also one of the most prominent and recognizable food safety advocates. So I think I am very safe in saying he is not loved by many of the readers, and it is also safe to say that many of the readers today are glad Bill Marler is advocating daily for a safer food supply thru his blogs, his online journals, and his support for consumer education and legislation.
Yes, Bill Marler started his ascent to becoming a common name in the food industry circles when he won a judgment of $15.6 million for Brianne Kiner in the 1993 Jack in the Box outbreak. But many don’t know that when he recently won a case for the parents of Abby, a child who died of an E. coli infection in 2009, he donated funds to establish a scholarship in her memory at the school she had attended.
Yes, Bill Marler sued Cargill on behalf of Stephanie Smith for $100 million (it has been settled for an undisclosed amount) but in the same year, he received the Food Safety Leadership Award for Innovation in Education from NSF International. He was also seen handing out meat thermometers at the FSIS Consumer Education Conference in Atlanta, and was seen at the annual International Food Safety Conference in Beijing, China, the last three years as a prime sponsor.
Yes, Bill Marler has won over $500 million in litigation for his clients over the years (and earned his commission, of course) but he has also established a daily food safety blog site, www.marlerblog.com, that he contributes to several times a day and a daily electronic magazine with at least four full time writers and many free lancers called Food Safety News, www.foodsafetynews.com, that helps keep readers up to date on all food safety issues of the day. Both of these methods of communicating food safety news also have valuable links to other blogs and stories. In addition, Marler has recently gone on line with his Foodborne Illness Database,www.outbreakdatabase.com, with links available there to CSPI’s and CDC’s outbreak databases.
To be sure, Bill has some that do not appreciate his advocating for victims of foodborne illnesses, but he has others that wish he had achieved his dream of being the current Undersecretary for Food Safety at the USDA. He may be accused of “courting publicity”, but without publicity, his, and his clients’ voices, would not be heard. He has written extensively, testified before Congress, presented at many conferences, and was even a factor in convincing the Wisconsin and California Governors to veto bills that would have liberalized the production and sale of raw milk.
While spending nearly a half million dollars of his own money (yes, money earned by representing victims of foodborne illnesses) to test 5,000 samples of ground beef for non-O157:H7 Shiga Toxin producing E. coli, he petitioned the Food Safety Inspection Service at the USDA to recognize and regulate all enterohemorrhagic E coli as adulterants in ground beef. And by the way, this testing found that nearly 2% of samples were contaminated with non-O157 E coli, and that means fecal presence. One sample tested positive for O157:H7 and resulted in a non-FSIS initiated recall.
I call that aggressively protecting the public from a foodborne illness, but am interested in hearing what you call it.