Tag: food-borne

ACI Food-Borne Illness Conference in Chicago October 27 – 28, 2010

American Conference Institute (“ACI”) will hold its 4th National Conference on Food-Borne Illness Claims in Chicago, October 27 to 28. Highlights of this year’s conference will include: • Appearances by a number of current and former high-level regulators such as Dr. Arthur Liang from CDC, Dr. David Goldman from USDA, Dr. David Acheson formerly of … Continue Reading

Preserving the Brand and Avoiding Media Backlash During a Crisis

I’ll be moderating and speaking on a panel at the upcoming ACI’s Advanced Summit on Food Safety Regulatory Compliance in Chicago, June 28-29. Scott Rickman from Del Monte, public relations professionals and I will be presenting on  "Effectively Responding to Negative Media Coverage: How to Avoid the Backlash" (If you plan to attend, register soon and contact … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from November 17 Webinar: Sustainable Foods Increase Litigation Risks: Developing Strategies to Minimize Exposure

On November 17, we held our final webinar in a three-part series on bringing sustainable food products to market. Take-aways from the third webinar include: • Be aware that "natural" is a hot button when advertising and labeling sustainable food products. • "Sustainable" is not addressed in FTC Green Guides so it is imperative to … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from November 3 Webinar: Making Good Marketing Claims: Product Labeling Pitfalls, Third-Party Certification and “Green Washing”

Tuesday, November 3, we held our second webinar in a three-part series on bringing sustainable food products to market. Thanks again to our presenters and attendees. The recorded webcast was archived and is accessible at this link. Click here to access a PDF copy of the presentation slides. Take-aways from the second webinar include: • … Continue Reading

Some Take-Aways from ACI’s 3rd National Forum on Food-Borne Illness Litigation

American Conference Institute (ACI) recently held its latest conference on food-borne illness litigation. The conference has been a fairly intimate gathering of the nation’s lawyers, insurers and experts involved with food-borne illness litigation. This year, I had the privilege of moderating an in-house counsel “think tank.” The panel was composed of lawyers from a nice … Continue Reading

Comment On Recent New York Times E. Coli and Beef Article: How Retailers Can Protect Themselves

Co-Authored By Guest Blogger Scott Hansen According to its website, last Sunday’s New York Times article on E. coli and beef is among the most widely read pieces published by the newspaper this week. The article tells the story of a 22-year-old Minnesota dance instructor who was left paralyzed after being infected with a strain of E. … Continue Reading

Before the Outbreak, Preapprove Defense Counsel with Insurer

When a food-borne illness outbreak happens, few food companies (especially those whose brand is at stake) want an unfamiliar defense lawyer who has little knowledge about food-borne illness responding to claims asserted against them. Unless a food company maintains a high, self-insured retention or has the lawyer of its choosing preselected, its insurer might appoint … Continue Reading

Tool For Food Companies and Litigators – New Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response

Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (“CIFOR”) has published new guidelines designed to help local, state and federal agencies to improve their response to outbreaks. I became aware of this (again) through Ricardo Carvajal, who was a reviewer for the guidelines, and his firm’s FDA Law Blog. I agree with Ricardo that while the guidelines … Continue Reading

Tort Damages Not the Only Exposure from Food-Borne Illness Outbreaks

For lawyers and insurance adjustors, compartmentalizing food-borne illness claims is easy. They often see their jobs solely as minimizing the tort liability and legal fees. In my experience, attorneys and adjustors often fail to appreciate how outbreaks can affect a client’s (or even a whole industry’s) business going forward. Often, the long-term business losses of a … Continue Reading

ACI Announces 3rd National Forum on Food-Borne Illness Litigation

The American Conference Institute announced this week its latest food litigation conference. Here’s the conference brochure. The conference will take place in Chicago on October 26-27 at the Sutton Place Hotel. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Bill Marler and defense lawyer Al Maxwell are co-chairing the conference. This year promises a greater variety of presentations by in-house food … Continue Reading

Avoid Unnecessary Labeling Claims – Ensure That Cooking Instructions Are Adequate

Bill Marler funded independent research at the University of Idaho to study the adequacy of cooking instructions found on the packaging on various retail brands of frozen ground beef patties. The research was published this month in Food Protection Trends. The study found that three of the packages included cooking instructions that “would be inadequate … Continue Reading

Liability Limits: How Much Should Your Food Company Maintain?

Food business clients frequently want to ensure that they have sufficient liability limits in the event of an outbreak (they also want to make sure they have adequate coverage, but this is a separate discussion). Determining the amount of a business’s limits depends on the business’s possible exposures. No one-size-fits-all formula is available. Every business … Continue Reading

Improved Surveillance Will Lead to More Food-Borne Illness Claims

We’ve explained previously in this blog why increased surveillance by state and federal agencies will lead to detection of more outbreaks (and, therefore, more legal exposure). Others seem to agree. Law360 published a nice interview with Jim Neale at McGuire Woods, another lawyer experienced in the food liability arena ( a Law360 subscription is needed … Continue Reading

Tracking the Food Safety Working Group – More or Less Legal Exposure For Food Sellers?

This week the Obama administration announced the launch of a new website for the recently formed food safety working group. Obama announced the formation of this group in March in the wake of the high-profile food safety issues surrounding PCA peanut products.  This website will assist in tracking the efforts of the working group. As discussed … Continue Reading

Defending Liability in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

I’m asked frequently about the “anatomy of litigation.” I plan to write more in this space on the topic. For now, some may find useful the slides from a presentation I gave recently on “Defending Liability in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks.” I discussed what I see as three prototypes of consumer claims and possible strategies to respond … Continue Reading

Next Generation Sequencing for the Food Industry

More and more, it is becoming true that nothing drives detection and prevention of food-borne illness than technology (and, of course, with advancements in detection come potential increases in exposure to legal liability). No technological advancement may be more significant than Next Generation Sequencing ("Next Gen Sequencing").   I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend time learning about Next Gen Sequencing with Dr. Andrew Benson, a genetic microbiologist at the … Continue Reading

Five New Year’s Resolutions

Unfortunately, 2009 does not promise to be any easier than 2008 in protecting your business against food liability claims. Many argue that threats will only increase in the new year. Here are five things you can do to reduce exposure in the coming year: 1. Review Insurance Coverage and Limits Carefully – Both the variety and … Continue Reading

Practical Advice for Litigating the Food Case

Click here for the slides from a presentation I gave recently with Shawn Stevens entitled "Practical Advice for Litigating the Case: Retaining Experts, Assessing Damages and Planing Trial Strategy." Two threads of my part of the presentation were organization and relationships (I believe that these were also central to Obama’s campaign hence the campaign log). In … Continue Reading

Is It Really A Food-Borne Illness?

At a recent presentation, Dr. Alan Melnick, a public health officer in both Oregon and Washington, provided a useful list of alternative causes of symptoms to consider when someone claims a food-borne illness. Other causes of symptoms that might be confused for food-borne illness include (but may not be limited to): Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) … Continue Reading

Dramatic Shift in Plaintiffs’ Burden of Proof for Food-Borne Illness Claims?

A California Court of Appeal panel recently issued a lengthy decision in Sarti v. Salt Creek Ltd. (2008 WL 5006537)  reversing a trial court’s grant of judgment notwithstanding the verdict  (JNOV) in a food-borne illness case involving campylobacter. Sarti is alarming. The California court substantially lightened the plaintiff’s burden of proof by requiring her to come … Continue Reading

Registration Still Open For The ACI Food-Borne Illness Litigation Conference in Scottsdale

December 4-5 is the American Conference Institute’s 2nd National Forum on Food-Borne Illness Litigation. The first forum turned out to be a very engaging and diverse forum (e.g. plaintiffs lawyers, industry lawyers, top state and federal officials) on emerging issues in food-borne illness. I will be one of the many speakers. Ralph Weber, an accomplished … Continue Reading

Breakthrough in Detection of BSE (a.k.a. “Mad Cow Disease”)

No food-borne illness induces consumer fear like Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE a.k.a. "Mad Cow Disease"). The beef industry in particular has gone to great lengths to take preventative steps against the introduction of BSE into U.S. herds. A big problem in controlling BSE is that it’s difficult to detect. The only detection method currently available … Continue Reading

Change You Can Expect: What President Obama May Do About Food-Borne Illness Surveillance

The Obama administration has promised sweeping changes in all corners of the federal government. We can expect the new President to push an ambitious legislative and administrative law agenda in 2009. What does this mean for food regulation? A partial answer may be gleaned by looking at the Improving Food-borne Illness Surveillance and Response Act … Continue Reading

“Organic Pathogens Exclusion”

Insurers are making efforts to exclude food-borne illness claims from coverage under comprehensive general liability (“CGL”) policies. The "Organic Pathogens Exclusion" is a good example. While a claim for food-borne illness may normally be covered by a CGL policy, if you have an organic pathogens exclusion, your insurer will not provide a defense and will … Continue Reading
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