Poisoned Food: Lawsuits and Food Safety


Published on

In this 2012 presentation at Washington State University, famed attorney Bill Marler gives an overview of the impact lawsuits have had on food safety in America and what food producers can do to avoid causing an outbreak.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Poisoned Food: Lawsuits and Food Safety

  1. 1. “Poisoned Food:Lawsuits and FoodSafetyBill Marler
  2. 2. To Put Things in Perspective • According to the CDC, pathogens cause an estimated 48 million cases of human illness annually in the U.S. • 125,000 hospitalized • Cause up to 3,000 deaths • Most Illnesses are not linked together nor to a product
  3. 3. Strict Product Liability • Strict Liability – Are you a manufacturer? – Was the product unsafe? – Did product cause injury? • Negligence • Punitive Damages /Criminal Liability – Are you a product seller? – Did you act with conscious disregard – Did you act “reasonably”? of a known safety risk?
  4. 4. Who is a Manufacturer? A “manufacturer” is defined as a “product seller who designs, produces, makes, fabricates, constructs, or remanufactures the relevant product or component part of a product before its sale to a user or consumer.”
  5. 5. It’s called STRICT Liability for a Reason • The only defense is prevention • It does not matter if you took all reasonable precautions • If you manufacture a product that makes someone sick you are going to pay • Wishful thinking does not help
  6. 6. Worthless Excuse No. 1 “I never read the memo.”
  7. 7. Jack in the Box
  8. 8. Jack in the Box
  9. 9. Jack in the Box
  10. 10. Strange Bugs – Non-O157 E. coli • E. coli O104:H4 • 4,321 Ill, 852 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome • 50 Dead • Six U.S. Cases • Egyptian Fenugreek Seeds Likely Source
  11. 11. Bugs in Strange Places • Listeria – Tainted Cantaloupe • 145 Sickened with over 30 Deaths • First Outbreak Linked with Cantaloupe and Listeria
  12. 12. Bugs in Stranger Places• 72 E. coli O157:H7 Illnesses – 10 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome• Likely Source – Tainted Flour• Nestle now uses Heat Treated Flour
  13. 13. Lessons Learned From An OutbreakYou can insure your reputation 1. Arm yourself with good, current information 2. Since you have a choice between doing nothing or being proactive, be proactive 3. Make food safety part of everything you do 4. Believing your food is safe is not enough
  14. 14. Some Resources for All• Learn About E. coli• Learn About Salmonella• Learn About Listeria• Learn About Shigella• Learn About Campylobacter• Learn About Hepatitis A• Learn About Botulism• Learn About Norovirus
  15. 15. Questions