November 4 and 5, the Chinese General Administration for Quality Supervision Inspection & Quarantine (AQSIQ) will host the 3rd annual China International Food Safety & Quality Conference and Expo in Beijing.  The conference is intended to provide a forum for international collaboration on food safety issues, hoping to address the growing food safety concerns that arise out of the international food trade.

China Food Safety Conference.pngThe International Food Safety Conference and Expo has been cited by organizers as proof of China’s increased commitment to food safety, offering exposure to the latest scientific findings, international experts, and food safety solutions.

Bill Marler, the Seattle-based lawyer and food safety expert, will be a keynote speaker at the International Food Safety Expo.  Marler will give two speeches over the course of the event.

His first speech, titled “The True Cost of Foodborne Illness,” uses a case study of the 2007 Salmonella outbreak in peanut products manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America to demonstrate the far-reaching economic effects an outbreak can have.

After the Salmonella outbreak in America, companies lost millions in recalls, businesses failed, consumer confidence was shattered, farms went fallow and the producer went bankrupt.  “The economic costs pale to the cost of lives lost and pain suffered by the thousands of sickened Americans during the outbreak,” Marler says.  This, he argues, is the cost that needs reducing.

Marler emphasizes this point in his speech with a video of Clifford Tousignant, a Korean War Vet who lost his life after contracting Salmonella poisoning from contaminated peanut butter.                

Marler’s second speech, “An Analysis of Chinese Food Product Liability in the United States,” considers the legal impact of an outbreak on the entire international chain of distribution.  After addressing how current product liability works in the United States, Marler discusses how American product liability law may be applied to Chinese food producers selling goods in the U.S. marketplace.

The speech is targeted to those in the Chinese and international market who are looking to export products to the United States but are hesitant to do so because of foreign liability and regulatory laws.   

The China International Food Safety & Quality Conference and Expo is expected to attract some of the most prominent international food professionals in the world. Last year, the event attracted over 750 delegates from 17 countries and territories. For more information, visit