KCTS 9, the public television station in the Seattle area, aired a short documentary last Friday on the history of food safety since the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened over 600 and killed five.
The video features prominent food safety lawyer Bill Marler and several of his clients, including Brianne Kiner, a 10-year-old girl who spent almost 6 months in the hospital in 1993 after eating at Jack in the Box, and Stephanie Smith, a 22-year-old dance instructor who was paralyzed by a stroke after contracting E. coli O157:H7 from ground beef produced by Cargill, Inc.
In addition to profiling those sickened in foodborne illness outbreaks, the video examines the process by which the government responds.
“After every outbreak, there’ll be some Department of Ag (Agriculture) person who stands up and says ‘we have the safest food supply in the world,'” Mr. Marler says in the video. “Well, that doesn’t really help you a lot when you’ve just poisoned a couple hundred people.”
“What the federal government likes to do,” Marler told Food Safety News, “is grandstand. After every outbreak, lawmakers act outraged and demand accountability. Unfortunately, concrete steps are rarely taken.”
“As I’ve said before,” he continued, “make food safe and put me out of business.”