Such single-point reporting may be a weakness of the new system, because it cannot establish trends in the way that multi-year analyses do, said prominent food-safety attorney Bill Marler of Seattle. "It you looked just at 2006, you would think that produce is a terrible risk, but in 2007 and 2008 there were fewer outbreaks in produce and many more in meat," he said. Marler and other food-safety advocates, though, applauded the move to get data out to the field more quickly.
"Part of the problem with how we currently deal with food-borne illness cases is we wait until people get sick and die and then we announce an outbreak," said Bill Marler, a veteran food safety litigator who writes a blog about the issue. "It seems that the focus here is a bit on preventing it before we have sick and dead people as opposed to counting the bodies after salmonella or E. coli is out of the barn."
Their lawyer, Bill Marler, said Tuesday that Alex developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, after eating shish kabobs made from the meat in May. Marler’s firm also represents a California client who developed the illness after eating the meat.
Roerick’s family ate the same meat, but he had more than the others, said his attorney, William Marler. Of concern is that Roerick was sicked by whole muscle meat, not ground beef, as is typically the case with E. coli. "It just shows how virulent the bacteria is," Marler said. "This is more than just a hamburger problem."