“48 million Americans get a food borne illness every year and 125,000 are hospitalized and there are about 3000 deaths that are directly linked to food borne illness.”
Bill Marler has spent more than 20 years litigating food-borne illness cases. In 1993 he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Marler says pregnant women, children, the elderly and people with immune compromised systems are at the greatest risk of food borne illness which affects millions of Americans every year. Marler gave the key note address at the opening of the Rocky Mountain Food Safety Conference which happens in Denver June 2-3, 2015.
Marler says there is hope for the future of food regulation in the US. The Food Safety Modernization Act is a new law, passed in 2010 that hasn’t been fully funded yet, that Marler says will deal with 80% of America’s food supply. “The real change is our food safety system in the country has really been reactive, we hear about outbreaks, we hear about recalls then we react.” The FSMA will make systems more pro-active, requiring companies to have plans in place to have safe food, plans for what to do in the case of recalls. There would also be more testing and control of food brought into the United States.
Marler says to avoid food-borne illness at home, consumers should keep cold food cold and hot food hot, wash your hands, and pay attention to cross contamination in your own kitchen. He advises paying attention to inspection reports on restaurants and paying attention to consumer reports. Bill Marler says he stays away from sprouts, bagged salads and raw milk and juices.