After what appeared to be the end of national food safety legislation last week, the Senate unanimously passed through a Food Safety Bill on Sunday evening, giving great hope and vindication to food safety advocates, like Bill Marler – Managing Partner for the Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm. It is expected that the bill will pass the House and arrive on the President’s desk by the end of this year.
“I want to specifically thank Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and their staffs for finding a way to get this legislation though the Senate and to the House and then on to the President,” said Marler. “It does show how bi-partisanship can work.”
Marler Clark has been working for a decade to move food safety legislation forward. Bill Marler has traveled to Washington D.C. to advance food safety legislation numerous times, including in 2008 when he testified that it was time to, “put me out of business.”
In efforts to show the human reality of foodborne illness, Marler also has taken victims themselves to the nation’s capitol for Congressional testimony.
“For many people food safety is just a numbers game,” said Marler. “But for me it is far more personal than that. I wanted to bring victims to D.C. to show the nation that there are real people affected in very real, significant, and life-changing ways.”
Listed here are victims of foodborne illness who have traveled to Washington, D.C to testify or lobby for food safey:
Jeff Almer (MN) – Jeff testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. His mother, Shirley died in 2008 from complications caused by eating a peanut butter product made from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) peanuts. She was one of 9 who died and at least 714 people who were sickened in the 2008 Salmonella outbreak traced to products containing PCA peanuts.
Elizabeth Armstrong (IN) – Elizabeth and her daughter Ashley testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her daughters, Ashley and Isabella, both suffered E. coli O157:H7 infections due to consumption of baby spinach in 2006. Ashley developed severe Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
Kelly Cobb (WA) – Kelly testified in 2009 to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. She contracted E. coli O157:H7 that developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after eating Romaine Lettuce in a 2008 outbreak that made at least 9 people ill in the Northwest.
Cheryl and Brian Grubbs (CO) – Brian became ill from eating Salmonella-contaminated peppers along with 1,200 others in 2008.
Lindsey and Michael Jennings (MI) – Lindsey became ill in 2008 during an E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak linked to lettuce grown in California.
Karen Hibben-Levi (IA) – Karen was sickened in 2006 after eating E. coli O157:H7-contaminated lettuce grown in California.
Peter Hurley (OR) – Peter testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. His son Jacob was six years old when he became severely ill with a Salmonella infection during the 2008 PCA peanut outbreak.
Leigh Ann Winnard (MO) – Leigh Ann’s son Matthew was sickened in 2007 with an E. coli O157:H7 infection.
Sarah Lewis (CA) – Sarah testified in 2010 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She became ill with Salmonella in the Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg Salmonella outbreak of 2010 that resulted in 550 million eggs being recalled and at 1,609 reported cases of Salmonella.
Terri Marshall (LA) – Terri testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her Mother-in-Law, Mora Marshall, has remained in a nursing home since eating Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter in 2007 (Video).
Gabrielle Meunier (VT) – Gabrielle Testified in 2008 to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. Her son Christopher was hospitalized due to a Salmonella infection in the 2008 PCA peanut butter outbreak.
Margo Moskowitz (SC) – Margo was hospitalized after becoming ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection during the 2009 Nestle Toll House cookie dough outbreak that lead to at least 69 cases in 29 states.
Gary and Mary Ann Pruden (PA) – Gary testified in 2007 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Their son, Sean, who was 7 years old at the time, spent weeks in the hospital when contracted an E. coli O157:H7 infection that lead to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after eating at Taco Bell in 2007.
Amanda Sands (NC) – Amanda was sickened with Salmonella in the 2010 Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg outbreak.
Lou Tousignant (MN) – Lou testified in 2009 to The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Video). His father, Clifford, died from consuming a peanut butter product made from PCA peanuts (Video).
Stacey Walker (CA) – Stacey contracted Salmonella during the 2010 Wright County and Hillandale Farms egg outbreak.
Ryan Wilson (NH) – Ryan was sickend with Salmonella that resulted in psoriatic arthritis (reactive arthritis) from eating pizza made with tomatoes that were contaminated with Salmonella.
Aside from lobbying for legislation to overhaul food safety, Marler Clark has worked extensively to increase awareness for food safety issues. Bill Marler has been blogging about food safety issues since 2004 and in those 6 years has seen his readership approach 1 million readers annually. In 2009 the firm petitioned the USDA to classify strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) other than E. coli O157:H7 as adulterants in food.
The firm has created a multitude of educational websites such about-ecoli.com and about-salmonella.com. In 2009 Marler Clark rolled out Food Safety News, an online news organization dedicated to reporting on all things food safety. In the same year the firm launched outbreakdatabase.com, a unique site that provides summaries of significant food- and water- related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens.
MARLER CLARK is the nation’s foremost food safety law firm and has been representing victims of foodborne illness for nearly 20 years. The firm has won over $500,000,000 for clients with foodborne illness. To learn more about the firm and its efforts to reduce foodborne illness in the United States, visit www.marlerclark.com.