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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Outbreak Update – Politicians and the Media are Paying Attention

While the Washington Post pondered if I would actually move from Seattle to Washington DC, yet another food recall was happening in the other – actual states.  Here is a "round-up" of a few choice quotes:

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who has been suing food makers for years on behalf of people who get sick, said he’s never seen a company accused of shipping products that tested positive for a foodborne pathogen. “It’s insane,” he said. “You have to ask, what are these people thinking when the product is going into institutional settings with kids and older people? It’s just unconscionable.”

New York Times

The report from the inspection, first posted on the Internet by Bill Marler, a lawyer, cites 12 instances in 2007 and 2008 in which the company’s own tests of its product found contamination by salmonella.

Burlington Free Press

After obtaining a damning FDA report on PCA and posting it on his Web site, www.marlerblog.com, Marler added demands for unspecified punitive damages to the Meunier lawsuit. "We do not allege punitive damages in most cases. Just the most egregious," Marler wrote on his blog Wednesday. "In fifteen years of litigating food cases, this is one of the worst examples of corporate responsibility I have ever seen."

ABC Evening News

"If this doesn’t rise to a criminal level I don’t know what does," food safety attorney Bill Marler told ABC News on Wednesday. Marler is suing the company on behalf of one consumer. Marler’s current advice? "I would think twice right now about giving a peanut butter product of any kind to someone under the age of 5 or over the age of 70."

The FDA inspections also documented unsanitary conditions at the plant, including cockroaches, mold and leaking roofs. "This is one of the worst inspection reports I’ve seen in 15 years of practice," Marler said.

As numbers climb higher, people like Marler are questioning the government’s ability to keep food safe as products make their way through a complex supply chain from farms to grocery store shelves to kitchen pantries. Today Marler said it’s key for the government to step up its efforts and require "across-the-board bacterial and viral testing on all ready-to-eat products. The reality is that, frankly, U.S. companies do a marvelous job at poisoning our own citizens," Marler said. "Our focus on imported products are frankly misplaced given the fact that most food-borne illness outbreaks that occur in the United States are caused by homegrown companies."

Scientific American

"It’s inconceivable that the FDA or the state of Georgia allowed a plant like this to operate," says Seattle personal-injury attorney Bill Marler, who sued PCA in federal court in Albany, Ga., last week on behalf of a 7-year-old boy who got sick after eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter. "This company … got positive tests and shipped it in any event. If that’s not criminal behavior, I don’t know what is."

  • Shannon

    Here we are living in the freest place in the world, and we cant even trust the people who produce our food for us. What are they getting paid to do, well I thought is was to produce food that is safe to eat. What will happen next, there was the mad cow scare, now peanut butter, the basic of all foods that millions of people feed to their kids in lunches, and the elderly in homes that are supposed to be protecting them from harmful things. I am sorry but this absolutely can not be tolerated. And now the inspection reports come back for the last two years as not being safe. Why in the world would they be so irresponsible with peoples lives. The bottom line here is what is this free country coming to where we cant even eat the food that is made here without the fear of serious illness or even death.

  • fbiMaven

    Risk based inspections? Check off inspection forms? What a joke. Two hours to inspect a processing plant? These risk based inspections are all about food handling, temperatures, and handwashing. Structural deficiencies do not count for much……except when cross contamination from roof leaks occur on product (sound familiar…ConAgra and peanut butter)? These “health inspections” are insufficient and as a local HD inspector, I am SICK of being told by state/federal authorities that floors, walls, and ceilings are not important on a risk based inspection. I will continue to write these violations up and leave after doing a THOROUGH inspection. Interesting that on the FDA inspection, floors, walls and ceiling seem to be a source of contamination afterall. Gee….maybe those check off inspection forms need to be addressed! I will continue to fight my fight everyday for thorough inspections where ALL aspects of an operation are inspected. If a facility doesn’t care to clean floors, walls and ceilings and conduct repairs, I don’t care what the temperatures of food and equipment are and how much handwashing is going on….they will not pass. This outbreak once again demonstrates to me the flaws in risk based inspections by minimizing physical conditions in a facility.