In 2002, I wrote an Op-ed for the Denver Post entitled: “Put me out of business. Please.”

For this trial lawyer, E. coli has been a successful practice – and a heart-breaking one. I’m tired of visiting with horribly sick kids who did not have to be sick in the first place. I’m outraged with a food industry that allows E. coli and other poisons to reach consumers, and a federal regulatory system that does nothing about it….

… And, with a little luck, it will force one damn trial lawyer to find another line of work.

From the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 until the 2002 ConAgra E. coli outbreak, at least 95% of Marler Clark revenue was E. coli cases linked to hamburger.  Today, it is nearly zero.  That is success.  To the beef industry – thank you for meeting the challenge.  The millions spent on interventions, and the countless hours of food safety professionals, made the difference.

That all being said, there is still much the industry can do.  Shiga-toxin producing E. coli will always be an issue.  Listeria and antibiotic resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter, and other bad bugs we do not even know about, lurk around the corner.  The industry cannot let up.  Even with the success there still have been isolated tragedies like Stephanie Smith and Abby Fenstermaker who remind you the battle will likely always have to be fought.

But, for now, hats off to you.