Peter Lattman – who blogs more than I do is at it again:

E. coli Outbreak Inspires Vanity-Plate Naming Contest

The nation’s meat supply is “the safest in the world,” a U.S. agriculture official said today, seeking to reassure consumers following the recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef by Topps Meat that may be contaminated with E. coli.

“I think the American meat supply is the safest in the world,” Dr. Raymond said in an interview. “A recall like this does show that we are on the job, we are doing our inspections, our investigation, and we respond when we find problems to make sure that supply is safe.”

The Law Blog checked in with foodborne-illness lawyer Bill Marler, of Marler Clark, the Seattle firm that has established a niche as the go-to place for victims of food-borne illnesses. We first got to know Marler during last year’s tainted-spinach crisis. He says he is working with ten individuals allegedly sickened by Topps meat, and is closely following the case on his blog. He also vehemently disagrees with Raymond.

“21,000,000 pounds of hamburger meat is recalled – that is 84,000,000 quarter-pound hamburgers – and Dr. Richard Raymond of the USDA says our meat supply ‘is the safest in the world?’” he said. “One would think that with hundreds of Americans poisoned that Dr. Raymond would not being the ‘cheerleader in chief’ for the beef industry but would be asking one simple question – ‘What is going on?’”

Law Blog Contest of the Day: We can’t get over the vanity plate on Marler’s wife’s car (see picture above). So we want to have our second installment of the Law Blog Vanity-Plate naming contest. An “ECOLI” license plate for a foodborne-illness lawyer sets a pretty high bar, but we’re confident that our readers will deliver. Please tell us your favorite (or least favorite) lawyer vanity plates, real or imagined.

While this is the first recall in Topps’ 65-year history, it is not the first time the company has had problems with E. coli O157:H7. In 2005, a 9-year-old girl in Glenmont, N.Y., went into kidney failure after being infected with bacteria linked to a Topps beef patty.  Attached is the USDA Report from 2005.