Can Civil Litigation be Used as a Tool to Change Policy & Behavior?
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Can Civil Litigation be Used as a Tool to Change Policy & Behavior?

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Bill Marler discussed 20 years of foodborne illness litigation and how it has impacted food policy and behavior as part of a conference at the University of Washington.

Bill Marler discussed 20 years of foodborne illness litigation and how it has impacted food policy and behavior as part of a conference at the University of Washington.

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Can Civil Litigation be Used as a Tool to Change Policy & Behavior? Can Civil Litigation be Used as a Tool to Change Policy & Behavior? Presentation Transcript

  • When can CivilLitigation be Used as aTool to Change Policyand Behavior?20 Years at the Table
  • Food Production is a Risky Business • Competitive Markets • Stockholder Pressures for Increasing Profits over Long-term Safety • Lack of Clear Reward For Marketing and Practicing Food Safety • Brand Awareness Risks
  • It is Global Food Economy
  • To Put Things in Perspective • Microbial pathogens in food cause an estimated 48 million cases of human illness annually in the United States • 125,000 hospitalized • Cause up to 3,000 deaths
  • Estimates Differ From Actual Counts• Annual E. coli O157:H7Estimates: – 62,000 illnesses – 1,800 hospitalizations – 52 deaths
  • Bottom Line: Most Victims Never Linked E. coli O157:H7 SalmonellaPatterns Submitted 5,376 29,168Clusters Identified 67 176Multi-state Clusters 36 152Epi Investigation 19 30Vehicle Implicated 4 8Regulatory Activity 4 8
  • Incubation Periods ofCommon Foodborne Pathogens PATHOGEN INCUBATION PERIOD Staphylococcus aureus 1 to 8 hours, typically 2 to 4 hours. Campylobacter 2 to 7 days, typically 3 to 5 days. E. coli O157:H7 1 to 10 days, typically 2 to 5 days. Salmonella 6 to 72 hours, typically 18-36 hours. Shigella 12 hours to 7 days, typically 1-3 days. Hepatitis A 15 to 50 days, typically 25-30 days. Listeria 3 to 70 days, typically 21 days Norovirus 24 to 72 hours, typically 36 hours.
  • The Long Pathway of a FoodborneIllness Investigation
  • The Pathway Continued If there are more ill persons than expected, an OUTBREAK might be underway
  • Almost to the End
  • What we all want to Avoid
  • Litigation as Incentive – 20 Years Later Odwalla Jack in the Box
  • The 1994 RevolutionPolitics and Philosophy Matter
  • Magic Moment?• 2006 Spinach 205 sickened and 5 deaths• 2007 Peanut Butter 746 sickened and 3 years of product recalled• House and Senate party switch
  • Well, Not Quite So Fast • 2007 Hamburger paralyzed dancer – Front Page of New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize • 2009 Cookie Dough mother of six hospitalized 2 years – Front Page Washington Post
  • What About Industry? • Tomato, errr, Pepper Outbreak • Peanut Butter Again - $1 Billion in Recall and Economic Losses
  • 2009 – The Magic MomentConsumers and Industry Coming Together
  • Even Comedians Like Safe Food
  • “WE” Won!
  • Well, Not Quite Yet "I would not identify it as something that will necessarily be zeroed out, but it is quite possible it will be scaled back if it is significant overreach," said Rep. Kingston, who is likely to become chairman of the subcommittee when Republicans assume control of the House in January. "We still have a food supply thats 99.99 percent safe," Rep. Kingston said in an interview. "No one wants anybody to get sick, and we should always strive to make sure food is safe. But the case for a $1.4 billion expenditure isnt there."
  • Questions