2013 Food SafetySummit20 years after Jack in theBox - from a lawyer’sperspective
Food Production is a Risky Business• Competitive Markets• Stockholder Pressuresfor Increasing Profitsover Long-term Safety...
It is a Global Food Economy
Litigation as Incentive – 20 Years LaterJack in the Box
Worthless Excuse No. 1• If a documentcontains damninginformation, thejury will assume youread it, understoodit, and ignore...
To Put Things in Perspective• Microbial pathogensin food still cause anestimated 48 millioncases of humanillness annually ...
Are things are Different Today?
It Started with just a Little Salmonella• 714 persons infected with the outbreakstrain of Salmonella Typhimurium wererepor...
Then there were Congressional Hearings• “Turn them loose,” Parnell had told hisplant manager in an internal e-maildisclose...
Now a 76 Count Federal Indictment• Stewart Parnell, the formerowner of Peanut Corp. ofAmerica• Michael Parnell, who isStew...
Planning AGAINST Litigation –What Is Really Important• Identify Hazards– HACCP– Do you havequalified and committedpeople?•...
Planning AGAINST Litigation –Establish RelationshipsThey are your best friends!
Lessons Learned From LitigationYou can insure the brand’s and the company’sreputation1. Arm yourself with good, current in...
Something for Summer Reading"A stunningly researchedwork, "Poisoned" reads asthough Clarence Darrowhad written "The Jungle...
20 years after Jack in the Box - from a lawyer’s perspective
20 years after Jack in the Box - from a lawyer’s perspective
20 years after Jack in the Box - from a lawyer’s perspective
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20 years after Jack in the Box - from a lawyer’s perspective

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It's been 20 years since "E. coli" became a household word during the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Attorney Bill Marler, who represented the most seriously injured survivor of the E. coli outbreak, presents at the 2013 Food Safety Summit: What's changed and what still needs to be done to improve the safety of our nation's food supply?

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20 years after Jack in the Box - from a lawyer’s perspective

  1. 1. 2013 Food SafetySummit20 years after Jack in theBox - from a lawyer’sperspective
  2. 2. Food Production is a Risky Business• Competitive Markets• Stockholder Pressuresfor Increasing Profitsover Long-term Safety• Brand Awareness Risks• Not least of all, thosepesky lawyers
  3. 3. It is a Global Food Economy
  4. 4. Litigation as Incentive – 20 Years LaterJack in the Box
  5. 5. Worthless Excuse No. 1• If a documentcontains damninginformation, thejury will assume youread it, understoodit, and ignored it“I never readthe memo.”
  6. 6. To Put Things in Perspective• Microbial pathogensin food still cause anestimated 48 millioncases of humanillness annually inthe United States• 125,000 stillhospitalized• Still cause up to3,000 deaths
  7. 7. Are things are Different Today?
  8. 8. It Started with just a Little Salmonella• 714 persons infected with the outbreakstrain of Salmonella Typhimurium werereported from 46 states.. Additionally,one ill person was reported from Canada.• Among the persons with confirmed,reported dates available, illnesses beganbetween September 1, 2008 and March31, 2009. Patients ranged in age from <1to 98 years. The median age of patientswas 16 years which means that half of illpersons were younger than 16 years.21% were age <5 years, 17% were >59years. 48% of patients were female.Among persons with availableinformation, 24% reported beinghospitalized.• Nine deaths: Idaho (1), Minnesota (3),North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Virginia(2).
  9. 9. Then there were Congressional Hearings• “Turn them loose,” Parnell had told hisplant manager in an internal e-maildisclosed at the House hearing. The e-mail referred to products that once weredeemed contaminated but were cleared ina second test last year.• Parnell ordered products identified withsalmonella to be shipped and quoting hiscomplaints that tests discovering thecontaminated food were “costing us huge$$$$$.”• Parnell insisted that the outbreak did notstart at his plant, calling that amisunderstanding by the media and publichealth officials. “No salmonella has beenfound anywhere else in our products, or inour plants, or in any unopened containersof our product.”• Parnell complained to a worker after theynotified him that salmonella had beenfound in more products. “I go thru thisabout once a week,” he wrote in a June2008 e-mail. “I will hold my breath ……….again.”
  10. 10. Now a 76 Count Federal Indictment• Stewart Parnell, the formerowner of Peanut Corp. ofAmerica• Michael Parnell, who isStewart Parnell’s brotherand a former supervisor• Samuel Lightsey, a onetimeplant operator• Mary Wilkerson, a formerquality-assurance manager• Daniel Kilgore, plantmanager• Allegations Include:• Mail Fraud• Wire Fraud• Introduction of Adulteratedand Misbranded Food intoInterstate Commerce withIntent to Defraud orMislead• Conspiracy
  11. 11. Planning AGAINST Litigation –What Is Really Important• Identify Hazards– HACCP– Do you havequalified and committedpeople?• What is the Culture?• Involve Vendorsand Suppliers– Do they reallyhave a plan?– Ever visit them?
  12. 12. Planning AGAINST Litigation –Establish RelationshipsThey are your best friends!
  13. 13. Lessons Learned From LitigationYou can insure the brand’s and the company’sreputation1. Arm yourself with good, current information2. Since you have a choice between doingnothing or being proactive, be proactive3. Make food safety part of everything you, yoursuppliers and customers do
  14. 14. Something for Summer Reading"A stunningly researchedwork, "Poisoned" reads asthough Clarence Darrowhad written "The Jungle.”"Just in time for BBQseason, an investigativejournalist traces the path ofa devastating outbreak offood-borne illness linked tohamburger meat.”

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