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Seattle Food Safety Law Firm: 22 Years of E. coli Experience

The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have many years of experience working with clients on E. coli outbreak lawsuits.

E. coli are bacteria that can cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections in humans.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that E. coli causes 2,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year.

Ten percent of E. coli victims develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure, damage to the central nervous system, and ultimately death.

The Marler Clark E. coli lawyers have unmatched experience representing victims of E. coli and HUS.  We have represented hundreds of victims of E. coli outbreaks traced to foods such as hamburgers, spinach, raw milk, water, and food served at restaurants.  The Marler Clark E. coli lawyers are the only lawyers in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on plaintiff foodborne illness litigation.

Our E. coli lawyers have represented victims of notable E. coli outbreaks such as the 2006 Dole Spinach E. coli outbreak, the 2007 Cargill beef E. coli outbreak, and the landmark 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Washington Pork Outbreak Continues

first-chinese-bbqThe Salmonella outbreak linked to pork products has grown to 134 cases in 10 counties around the state. Consumers are advised to cook pork thoroughly.

The case count has continued to grow as state health officials work with Public Health — Seattle & King County along with other local, state, and federal partners on the disease investigation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its team of “disease detectives” to the state to help. Investigators are interviewing the most recent cases and comparing information to early cases, which were first reported in the spring.

Disease investigators are searching for possible contamination and exposure sources from a wide range of possible venues, including restaurants, markets, slaughter facilities, and farms/ranches. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in animals used for food, and proper storage, handling, preparation, and cooking can help prevent the illness known as salmonellosis.

Most of the illnesses have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria, and early testing shows a connection to a slaughter facility in Graham, WA. Samples were collected at Kapowsin Meats in Pierce County last week. Testing confirms the outbreak strain was present. The business, which is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, has cooperated with the investigation. There may be other sources and disease investigators are searching for the origin of the Salmonella bacteria in the outbreak.

The 134 cases include residents of Clark (2), Cowlitz (1), Grays Harbor (1), King (84), Kitsap (1), Mason (2), Pierce (12), Snohomish (24), Thurston (2), and Yakima (5) counties.

Exposure for many of the ill people apparently was whole roasted pigs, served at private events and restaurants. State health officials have issued guidance for cooking whole roasted pigs, with an emphasis on making sure the meat is cooked thoroughly. In addition to proper handling and preparation, thorough cooking can help prevent possible illness. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure an internal temperature of 145 degrees in the thickest cut of the meat.

Salmonellosis, the illness caused by infection with Salmonella, can cause severe and even bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Serious bloodstream infections may also occur. Annually, 600-800 cases of salmonellosis are reported among Washington residents.

Proper food handling, preparation, and cooking are the best precautions to take to prevent illness. Following food safety guidance can help prevent food-borne illness. Health officials warn consumers to use a food thermometer to make sure all meats and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature; guidance can be found on the Department of Health website. Other food safety tips include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after preparing food, especially raw meats.

To avoid cross-contamination, don’t place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat of any kind. It’s also important to wash and then sanitize cutting boards, knives, and countertops that come into contact with raw meat by using a solution of bleach water (1 teaspoon bleach per gallon of water) or antibacterial cleaner.

Contact with live animals— including pigs or other livestock at home, in petting zoos, at local fairs and elsewhere — can create exposure to Salmonella and other bacteria. Thorough hand washing after contact with live animals is an important tool in preventing the spread of disease.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

22 Years of E. coli Lawsuits with Marler Clark

MCthefoodsafetylawfirmMarler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

20 Years of Salmonella Lawsuits with Marler Clark

MCthefoodsafetylawfirmMarler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart. If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Food Safety News: Call for Op-eds and Subscribers

op-ed_406x250Food Safety News does not take a vacation, nor does it take time off to attend this or that summer conference. But people do, so this is a time of opportunity for you. We’d like to invite you to try your hand as one of our contributing opinion-editorial writers.

If you choose to accept our invitation, you could be joining some of the best-known food safety people in government, industry and academia whom we count among our contributors.

We have been the go-to publication for sharing ideas with the food safety world, and we’ve run editorials from high-profile players in the food industry, insightful academics, and leaders at FDA, USDA and CDC, alongside everyday people, with something to say about food safety.

At most times of the year, if you submit an op-ed to Food Safety News, it is a good bet there is a line ahead of you. For the rest of the summer, there is not likely to be much waiting since those who are usually in line seem to have scattered for vacations and conferences.

We don’t pay our contributing writers because then we could not call them “contributing” writers. But we can’t help noticing that our contributing writers are often the same people getting the big job offers and opportunities for exotic foreign travel.

We don’t want to oversell ourselves, but there are advantages to becoming known.

Becoming a Food Safety News contributing writer is not difficult, but there are few things you should know.

You should have something to say about food safety. This is important because we are called Food Safety News. We are sure your grandma’s sugar cookie recipes were great, but unless she poisoned people with them and then learned some lessons you want to share, it won’t be a fit.

In other words, you want to have a food safety angle and your topic should interest our large, broad audience. Somewhere around a half-million people check in on Food Safety News every month.

With a submission, first-time contributors also need to submit a photo, a short biography, and links for their author’s file at Food Safety News. This is the area shown after someone clicks on your byline. Links to websites, email, and twitter accounts are most common.

Food Safety News does not impose any minimum or maximum word counts on contributing writers. However, most probably fall in the 600- to 1,200-word range.

Either Managing Editor Cathy Siegner or I are available if you want to run your idea past us before you start writing. Or, if you’ve already written something, just turn it in to Cathy (I tend to lose things).

Either of us would be happy to take any questions you have. Think of how accomplished you’ll feel sharing your thoughts with a few hundred thousand of your associates in food safety rather than just sitting on a beach somewhere!

Contact us via email as listed below:

Dan Flynn, Editor in Chief
Food Safety News

Cathy Siegner, Managing Editor
Food Safety News

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

CDC: Each Year 1 in 6 Americans Get Sick From Eating Contaminated Food, Costing $15.5 Billion

Foodborne diseases are challenging for America’s employers — from rising healthcare costs associated with treating foodborne illnesses to lost worker productivity. Unsafe food that makes people sick has a ripple effect on businesses, communities and the U.S. economy. Annually, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. Foodborne illness, estimated to cost more than $15.5 billion annually, is a common, costly health problem that can be reduced. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reducing foodborne infections by just 10 percent would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.

Business Pulse: Food Safety, launched today by the CDC Foundation, focuses on how CDC fights foodborne diseases to protect American consumers and businesses from contaminated foods. This timely resource provides information and practical tools to help employers improve food safety in the workplace and make food safety a part of their company culture.

“For decades, CDC has rapidly detected, investigated, and stopped foodborne outbreaks,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “New technologies, such as whole genome sequencing, help us find and stop outbreaks even faster, saving lives and money. But much more needs to be done to reduce foodborne illness in America.”

Whole genome sequencing technology, which analyzes bacteria with a new DNA “fingerprinting” method, is helping CDC and state and local health departments detect and solve a greater number of Listeria outbreaks, including recent multistate outbreaks linked to ice cream and caramel apples. In the future, this technology may be used to help solve outbreaks from other types of germs commonly transmitted through food, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli. CDC is dedicated to protecting America’s businesses, employees and their families by linking illness in people to specific foods and targeting information to guide food safety policies and practices to make food safe and save lives.

How does foodborne illness affect businesses and consumers?

  • According to CDC, 5 million people get sick from norovirus in food every year, making it the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States.
  • Each year Salmonella causes 1 million illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths.
  • Listeria is the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning, killing 1 out of 5 people it infects. Some 1,600 Americans get sick from Listeria germs every year.

This issue of Business Pulse highlights food safety challenges faced by all businesses, as well as a question and answer feature with food safety expert Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases. Business Pulse: Food Safety also features an interactive infographic that provides useful facts and links to online CDC tools, guidelines and resources.

Business Pulse: Food Safety is the eighth in a series of quarterly business features created by the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization. Other Business Pulse topics to date include business continuity, safe healthcare, global health security, travelers’ health, flu prevention, healthy workforce and heart health.

About the CDC Foundation
Established by Congress, the CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do more, faster, by forging public-private partnerships to support CDC’s work 24/7 to save lives and protect people from health and safety threats. The CDC Foundation currently manages more than 250 CDC-led programs in the United States and in 73 countries around the world. Since 1995 the CDC Foundation has launched 760 programs and raised more than $450 million to advance the life-saving work of CDC. For more information, please visit www.cdcfoundation.org.

Marler Interview: Why Food Will Continue To Get Safer

From E. coli to salmonella, the headline-grabbing pathogens that can contaminate our food supply are meeting their match, thanks to an array of technology advancements that will impact both food producers and consumers, say food safety research and policy leaders.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to release its long-awaited research on the global burden of foodborne diseases in 2015, but ongoing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already paint a stark picture: One out of every 6 people in the United States suffers from a foodborne illness every year, and within that group 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Reducing those numbers is the goal of an army of food safety researchers and thought leaders investigating everything from DNA “fingerprinting” techniques to packaging indicators that tell consumers whether the product inside is safe to consume, according to the latest series of interviews from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative. FutureFood 2050 explores how increasingly sophisticated science and technology will help feed the world’s projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050.

“Regulatory agencies and food companies have much better resolution and ability today to track specific strains of organisms than they did a decade ago,” says Robert Brackett, director of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health. “Whole-genome sequencing [for example] is helping regulatory agencies identify discrete problems much more precisely. Beyond simply showing that there’s salmonella in a food sample, we can show that it came from a certain factory in a specific place,” he adds.

Food safety experts on the front lines talked to FutureFood 2050 this month about the most promising weapons in the fight to make our food supply safer, including:

  • Robert Brackett: Director of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health, who predicts that new gene-based tools will help pinpoint foodborne illness outbreaks in record time
  • Will Daniels: Fresh produce safety expert who says a variety of technology advancements are cleaning up contamination risks from farm to table
  • Chris Elliott: UK food fraud researcher who’s waging a war against criminal threats to the global food supply
  • Liu Xiumei: Pioneering food safety expert in China, who sees pollution issues as the country’s biggest challenge in improving food safety
  • William Marler: Veteran food safety attorney who believes consolidating regulatory agencies is essential for better oversight
  • Steve Taylor: Biochemist who co-founded the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program to support cutting-edge research on food allergies

FutureFood 2050 is a multi-year program highlighting the people and stories leading the efforts in finding solutions to a healthier, safer and better nourished planet to feed 9 billion-plus people by 2050. Through 2015, the program will release 75 interviews with the world’s most impactful leaders in food and science. The interviews with food safety leaders are the 12th installment of FutureFood’s interview series, following sustainability, women in food science, food waste, food security and nutrition in Africa, aquaculture, futurists on food, innovative agriculture Parts 1 and 2, kitchens of the future, obesity, and alternative proteins.

Early next year, FutureFood 2050 will also debut a documentary film exploring how the science of food will contribute solutions to feeding the world. Here’s a behind-the-scenes interview with the film’s director.

For more information, please visit FutureFood2050.com to subscribe to monthly updates, learn more about the project and read the latest news on food science.

About IFT

Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society–more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries–brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

Marler Clark Attorneys, Bill Marler and Denis Stearns to Teach Law Class in Arkansas

Reception in their honor Monday February 23

Join us Monday, February 23 for a reception in honor of our guest and visiting professor, Bill Marler and his law partner Denis Stearns.  Bill and Denis will be here teaching a condensed course for us,  Food Safety Litigation, Monday and Tuesday.

The reception will be Monday evening from 5:00-7:00 with a presentation by Bill at 5:30.


CDC: New Study Shows Increase in Raw Milk-Associated Outbreaks

What: A study published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal shows that the average annual number of outbreaks due to drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk more than quadrupled since the last similar study – from an average of three outbreaks per year during 1993-2006 to 13 per year during 2007-2012. Overall, there were 81 outbreaks in 26 states from 2007 to 2012. The outbreaks, which accounted for about 5 percent of all foodborne outbreaks with a known food source, sickened nearly 1,000 people and sent 73 to the hospital. More than 80 percent of the outbreaks occurred in states where selling raw milk was legal.

Where: The study was published today on the EID journal website.

Why: As more states have allowed the legal sale of raw milk, there has been a rapid increase in the number of raw milk-associated outbreaks. Since 2004, eight additional states have begun allowing the sale of raw milk, bringing the number of states where raw milk sales are legal to 30. At least five additional states allow cow shares – a practice where people can pay a fee for a cow’s care in return for some of the cow’s raw milk – for a total of 10 states as of the most recent survey. If more states begin allowing sales of raw milk, the number of outbreaks and illnesses will continue to rise. CDC recommends against consuming raw milk, especially for people who may be more likely to suffer severe illness (children, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems).

CDC scientists are available to discuss the latest data and implications for the public’s health by contacting the CDC press office.  Contact: CDC Media Relations 404-639-3286

More information about health risks associated with raw milk is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html.