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Food Safety News

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Contributing Writers

Drew Falkenstein

Drew Falkenstein

Drew Falkenstein joined Marler Clark in January, 2004 and has concentrated his practice in representing victims of foodborne illness. He has litigated nationwide against some of the biggest food corporations in the world, including Dole, Kellogg’s, and McDonald’s.  He has worked on landmark cases that have helped shape food safety policy, HACCP protocol, and consumer rights, such as the E. coli outbreak in fresh spinach in 2006 and the 2008 Peanut Corporation of America outbreak of Salmonella. A frequent speaker for the not-for-profit organization Outbreak, Inc, Mr. Falkenstein travels the country to address public and environmental health organizations as well as food safety meetings and annual educational conferences.  He speaks on the intersection of law and public health, and addresses companies on how to prevent food borne illness outbreaks.

Articles Written by Drew Falkenstein

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Zeppole Outbreak: Why So Many Hospitalized?

As of Monday, the Rhode Island Department of Health reports 33 possible cases of Salmonella with 17 hospitalized in an outbreak linked to holiday pastries called zeppole. (Wednesday update: 43 ill, possibly including one fatality; 22 hospitalized.) Having over one third of victims in a Salmonella outbreak require hospitalization is a rarity.  A high hospitalization… Continue Reading

Sprouts Again–This Time an Illinois Outbreak

Sprouts . . . nutritionally dense, next to irresistable on sub sandwiches, and an exceptional medium for the proliferation of dangerous bacteria. Sprouts have been called one of the 10 riskiest foods.  They have been estimated to have caused 40 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to fresh produce.  And now they are implicated in… Continue Reading

Cheese Outbreak: A Study in Good Epidemiology

It may be only a rarity that a widely contaminated food product distributed to a major grocery chain all over an entire region of the country does not cause many severe illnesses. Even though there are at least 37 confirmed illnesses in the  E. coli outbreak involving Gouda-style cheese, many people probably escaped severe illness… Continue Reading

Some Advice to Companies in Crisis

Sangar Fresh Cut Produce is in the midst of a public relations nightmare, now that everybody who pays attention to food safety events knows that it is at the center of a Listeria outbreak that may have killed four people. Sangar’s brass is taking a pretty brash stance on its implication in the outbreak, saying… Continue Reading

A Blind Faith Based Approach to Food Safety

Senator Coburn is wrong.  The Senate needs to pass meaningful food safety legislation immediately, not keep it on the backburner through the lame duck session so that it can start from scratch again next term.  He has raised legitimate questions of cost, but even his estimated costs of implementing S. 510 (Food Safety Modernization Act)… Continue Reading

Spring 2010: A bad stretch for produce

Certain times of year are associated with increased prevalence of foodborne disease–most notably, E. coli O157:H7 during summer months.  Springtime, to the author’s knowledge at least, has not had any such specific association with a particular pathogen or particular food problem, which is why it was so striking to watch the events of April and… Continue Reading

‘Team Diarrhea’ Funding Jeopardized

Last week, in the wake of the State Supreme Court’s ruling in Brayton et al. v. Pawlenty et al., Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty issued Executive Order 10-07, which seeks to prioritize core government functions in anticipation of shutting down non-core government functions to save money for the state’s significant budget deficits.  The detection of communicable… Continue Reading

Raw Milk: An Issue of Safety or Freedom?

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One need not look far to grasp the scope of this country’s food safety problems, and the personal devastation that can happen when somebody is infected by E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or any other foodborne pathogen. Stephanie Smith, who, at the time of her illness, was a 19-year-old dance instructor from Cold Springs, Minnesota, suffered… Continue Reading