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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Mr. Almost President Obama, I know you have a lot of other things on your plate, but putting peanut butter back in your girls’ lunches should be on your list.

The FDA asked us all to not eat peanut butter yesterday.  Companies with any amount of peanut butter from The Peanut Corporation of America are now battling each other to get the next Press Release out touting the next recall.  After illnesses began on Labor Day 2008, to have this warning days before Inauguration Day is embarrassing.   To have 474 confirmed illnesses, 109 hospitalizations and 6 deaths linked to Salmonella-tainted peanut butter is immoral.   And, the public still has no clear idea what products are safe or why such a staple as peanut butter could kill.

It is long past time for the President and Congress to stop talking about food safety and to actually do something about it.  Remember, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-forth of all Americans are poisoned each year by food, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 needlessly die.  It is time to fully fund the needs of State Health Departments and the CDC to help prevent and track bacterial and viral illnesses.  The FDA and FSIS need more inspectors and a rational inspection system for both foreign and domestic goods.  We can not wait for the next nationwide outbreak – whether caused by a mistake or by terrorism.  It is time to encourage Food-Corporate America and our international trading partners that it really is a bad idea to poison customers.  Encouragement needs to be both by enforceable, fair regulations and by tax credits for investments in food safety technologies.  This can be done.

This week you will not be making your child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because our food supply is not a safe as it should be.  This is wrong.  Mr. President, I know you have a lot of other things on your plate, but putting peanut butter back in your girls’ lunches should be on your list.

Note – folks are leaving messages on my office phone (1-206-346-1890).  Feel free to call my cell (1-206-794-5043) or email me at bmarler@marlerclark.com.

Yes, and while your at it can you tell your next head of FDA and CDC or the "Food Safety Czar" to respond, or ask the companies involved to respond to my questions about this outbreak?

• Make sure ALL product is promptly recalled;‚Ä®
• Do not destroy any documents;‚Ä®
• The companies should pay the medical bills and all related expenses of the innocent victims and their families;‚Ä®
• The companies should pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;‚Ä®
• Provide all bacterial and viral testing of all recalled product and any other tested product (before and after recall);‚Ä®
• Release all inspection reports on the plants by any Governmental Entity or Third-party Auditor;
• Release all Salmonella safety precautions taken by either King Nut or Peanut Corporation of America – especially after the 2007 Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak;‚Ä®
• Provide the public with the Epidemiological investigation (with names redacted), so it is clear who knew what and when about the likely source of the outbreak; and
• Show the public what is being done to prevent the next outbreak.

  • Bill, maybe there is a way to get Obama to see how this might fit into his big stimulus package.
    The Chinese government is expected to buy US Treasury Bills, to prop up their current holdings.
    The Chinese cannot export goods to the US because nobody wants to buy crap anymore, and the Chinese in response produce even cheaper crap.
    The Chinese don’t have a regulatory system at their local levels worth crap and to institute such a system would cost a great deal of money, possibly something that could only be bought with US treasury bills.
    Anybody see a deal here? Or is this just too difficult a deal to do?