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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Thanks to Marler Clark Clients Who Lobbied and Testified for Passage of Food Safety Bill

Listed here are victims of foodborne illness who have traveled to Washington, D.C to testify or lobby for food safety:

Jeff Almer (MN) – Jeff testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. His mother, Shirley died in 2008 from complications caused by eating a peanut butter product made from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) peanuts. She was one of 9 who died and at least 714 people who were sickened in the 2008 Salmonella outbreak traced to products containing PCA peanuts.

Elizabeth Armstrong (IN) – Elizabeth and her daughter Ashley testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her daughters, Ashley and Isabella, both suffered E. coli O157:H7 infections due to consumption of baby spinach in 2006. Ashley developed severe Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (Video).

Kelly Cobb (WA) Kelly testified in 2009 to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. She contracted E. coli O157:H7 that developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after eating Romaine Lettuce in a 2008 outbreak that made at least 9 people ill in the Northwest.

Cheryl and Brian Grubbs (CO) – Brian became ill from eating Salmonella-contaminated peppers along with 1,200 others in 2008.

Lindsey and Michael Jennings (MI) – Lindsey became ill in 2008 during an E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak linked to lettuce grown in California.

Karen Hibben-Levi (IA) – Karen was sickened in 2006 after eating E. coli O157:H7-contaminated lettuce grown in California.

Peter Hurley (OR) – Peter testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.  His son Jacob was six years old when he became severely ill with a Salmonella infection during the 2008 PCA peanut outbreak.

Leigh Ann Winnard (MO) – Leigh Ann’s son Matthew was sickened in 2007 with an E. coli O157:H7 infection.

Sarah Lewis (CA) – Sarah testified in 2010 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She became ill with Salmonella in the Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg Salmonella outbreak of 2010 that resulted in 550 million eggs being recalled and at 1,609 reported cases of Salmonella.

Terri Marshall (LA) – Terri testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her Mother-in-Law, Mora Marshall, has remained in a nursing home since eating Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter in 2007 (Video).

Gabrielle Meunier (VT) – Gabrielle Testified in 2008 to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. Her son Christopher was hospitalized due to a Salmonella infection in the 2008 PCA peanut butter outbreak.

Margo Moskowitz (SC) – Margo was hospitalized after becoming ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection during the 2009 Nestle Toll House cookie dough outbreak that lead to at least 69 cases in 29 states.

Gary and Mary Ann Pruden (PA) – Gary testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Their son, Sean, who was 7 years old at the time, spent weeks in the hospital when contracted an E. coli O157:H7 infection that lead to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after eating at Taco Bell in 2007.

Amanda Sands (NC) – Amanda was sickened with Salmonella in the 2010 Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg outbreak.

Lou Tousignant  (MN) – Lou testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Video). His father, Clifford, died from consuming a peanut butter product made from PCA peanuts (Video).

Stacey Walker (CA) – Stacey contracted Salmonella during the 2010 Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg outbreak.

Ryan Wilson (NH) – Ryan was sickend with Salmonella that resulted in psoriatic arthritis (reactive arthritis) from eating pizza made with tomatoes that were contaminated with Salmonella.

This are real people, and we should all thank them for what they did.  They participated in Democracy to make what happened to them have meaning, so other families might not have to suffer as well.  And, there are families like the Riveras who can not make the trip to D.C., but participated as best they could.  Thanks to all.  Even I got into the back and forth between Seattle and D.C.  I even testified in 2008 when I told the Committee that it was time to, “put me out of business.”

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    When I read the testimonies of others whom have experienced what I have, new, horrific memories come back to me. Ones that I have blocked since the event of my son’s hospitalization. Things I have forgotten until I read other recollections of the events that took place. The vomit that went from yellow to green to black. The listless, screaming pain. The panic and confusion in the hospital. I had one woman in my office say that food poisoning would not be a bad way to die. Boy did she stand corrected. One cannot even imagine the horrors. The pain comes on so rapidly that you don’t have time to catch your breath or understand what is happening. Being severly food poisoned is nothing short of being in a HORROR film. So here we are finally with the House to vote and the President to sign Our Bill. We have all contributed in one way or another. The entire time my son went through his horror, I kept saying “there has got to be a reason for this which I cannot see right now.” I was right. Our reason was to help participate in enacting legislative change. It is just the beginning now. It is a good beginning. But it is only a beginning. The next couple of years will be trying to enact this legislation in procedures that will make a difference in other’s lives and perhaps one day prevent one of us from falling ill again. And for those among us that lost a loved one, knowing that your experience and subsequent actions may help save another loved one’s life one day in the future.

  • Paul Nunes

    Congratulations and thanks to all!

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Congratulations Bill! Thank you for being our tireless avenger. You have worked hard to get this bill passed. Thanks go out to the victims and/or victims’ parents who testified at the hearings. Your words are powerful and they made a difference for the future safety of our food supply.
    Gabrielle Meunier, my son Chrisopher, who is also a very picky eater, became ill with E.coli 0157:H7 when he was seven years old. He was also diagnosed with colitis. We have commonalities in our stories, except for the pathogen that poisoned our boys. My Christopher drank contaminated raw milk.
    There are two Christopher victim stories posted on STOP. One is my Christopher’s and I’m guessing the other one is yours.

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    Hi Mary. Very interesting sharing between our Christopher’s. You are right that my Christopher is the other one on the STOP site. I will e-mail you through STOP.
    Best, Gabrielle