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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Swimming with the Sharks

Well, perhaps I already scarred them out of the water.

I am still in Australia with my family enjoying the Winter weather of Northern Australia (80 degrees).  It is amazing how you can stay connected via email, phone and blackberry – I’m sure my opponents love it.  Right now I am sitting in an Internet cafe on the beach in flip flops answering emails (183 this morning).  Last week I finished up two speeches on food safety to Australian industry and government.  I am working now on talks to be given in Melbourne to the dairy industry and the Keynote address to be given in at a food safety conference in China in mid-September.

People here seem very interested in our recent Botulism outbreak as well as the Con Agra Peanut Butter problem.  They find both outbreaks hard to fathom given the knowledge we should have had of the risks of botulism in canning and salmonella in peanut butter.

The legal and regulatory framework here is quite similar to both England and Canada (no surprise).  It appears that they feel that industry regulation, and criminal sanctions for violations, is a more efficient way of handling food safety issues that using civil lawsuits to both correct behavior and to compensate victims of food poisonings.  The problem, however, is that they seem to have a weak surveillance system, so few outbreaks are ever identified.  Also, although the industry feels that regulation and enforcement are tough, the government investigators I spoke with feel the opposite.

Well, off to a crocodile tour.

  • cool marler, there must be lots of guts to freek out like that you deserve that place, nice to be a part of this post