American attorney and food safety advocate William (Bill) Marler is offering assistance to Japanese lawyers of victims of the recent E. coli outbreak that was traced to raw ground beef served to restaurant customers in Japan. Marler’s Seattle based firm, Marler Clark, is the leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of E. coli and other food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S.
Four people died and 90 others became ill with E. coli O111 infections after eating a raw beef dish called yukhoe served at the Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu chain of barbecue restaurants in Japan last month. According to Asahi Shimbun reports, Yasuhiro Kanzaka, president of Foods Forus Co., which runs the restaurant chain, acknowledged that for the past two years his company had not tested its raw meat for bacteria, as required by Japan’s health ministry.
“Testing and other food safety systems were created for a reason – to keep customers safe,” said Marler. “As someone who has dedicated his life to fighting for safer food, I would like to offer my expertise and assistance to litigators working on behalf of the people who have suffered in this outbreak as well as the victims and their families, who are trying to recover from this devastating illness.”
At least four restaurants owned by Foods Forus Co. appear to be directly linked to the E. coli outbreak. “It is unconscionable when peoples’ lives are forever changed, or even ended, simply because of something they ate,” added Marler. “Restaurants have a duty to the consumer to serve a product that is free of harmful pathogens.”
Marler’s career as a food safety advocate began when he won record settlements for seriously ill children injured during a 1993 E. coli outbreak that sickened over 500 and changed the face of the U.S. food industry. His work in the Jack in the Box E. coli case was recently profiled in the book “Poisoned” by best-selling author Jeff Benedict.
Marler has litigated on behalf of thousands of other foodborne illness victims, representing victims in every major E. coli outbreak in the United States in the last two decades. In addition he advocates tirelessly around the globe for a safer food supply. He has spoken at conferences in China, England, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and United Arab Emirates. He has consulted with lawyers in China, England and Wales on E. coli outbreaks. In 2011 his work helped spur the passage of the first major American food safety law in over 60 years.