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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Secretary Veneman: you have not put me out of business yet.

As I said in my op-ed Secretary Veneman: you have not put me out of business yet, as a trial lawyer I spend much of my time looking for fault. But, from my mother, I learned to compliment and thank someone for doing the right thing, whatever their motives. So, thank you Agricultural Secretary Veneman for stepping in and protecting the multi-billion dollar meat industry from economic suicide by instituting long needed protections against BSE or “Mad Cow” disease – even if the cow was long “out of the barn.” These changes over time should rebuild confidence in our trading partners that the US Government is really serious about making our food system one of the safest in the world.

The change requiring the tracking of animals from birth to slaughter or from “farm to fork,” should allow the meat industry and the Government to document where cows come from and where specific lots of meat are sold. That way, meat can be recalled quickly if a pathogen (not just BSE) is detected anywhere in the process.

For me, E. coli has been a far too successful practice – and a heart-breaking one. I am tired of visiting with horribly sick kids who did not have to be sick in the first place. I am outraged with a meat industry that allows E. coli and other poisons to reach consumers, and a President, Congress and federal regulatory system that do nothing about it (many of the changes recommended by Secretary Veneman had been rejected by Congress in the last year).