Food Safety Advocate William Marler Calls for Public Meat
of Article: http://www.chiroeco.com/chiropractic/news/5179/46/Food-Safety-Advocate-William-Marler-Calls-for-Public-Meat-Inspection-Records/
safety advocate and attorney William Marler is calling on the Meat Industry
and the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to make the inspection
reports from meat processing facilities visible and easily available to the
public so that consumers Â” including grocery stores and restaurants Â” can
make informed choices on which products they want to purchase.
last decade, the number of city and state health departments that post
restaurant inspection results online has increased significantly, said
Marler from his office in Seattle. Moreover, in places like Los Angeles
County, all restaurants regularly receive either a letter-grade or
inspection-score, and these must be prominently posted near the entrance to
the restaurant. The primary goal of these efforts is to motivate
restaurants to improve sanitation and food-handling practices so that fewer
people get sick. When faced with a choice between dining at a restaurant
that received a C-grade versus an A-grade, it is pretty much a no-brainer
that people are going to be more inclined to spend money at a restaurant
with a higher grade!
making this kind of information easily available is such a no-brainer, why
then does the FSIS make it so difficult for the public to find out the
results of thousands of inspections it performs everyday in meat plants
across the country? In 2005, FSIS employed over 7,600 inspection program
personnel in about 6,000 federally inspected establishments nationwide with
an annual cost of $815.1 million. That is a lot of money to spend on
inspections given that the public does not currently have any way by which
to gain easy and timely access.
for all meat products made in a USDA-inspected plant, the plantÂ™s
establishment number must appear on the label with the mark of inspection.
But if a consumer trying to decide what brand of frozen hamburgers to
buy wants to compare one plantÂ™s inspection records with
another, the only way copies of the inspection reports (called
Noncompliance Records, or NRÂ™s) can be obtained is by making a request
under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These FOIA requests can,
however, take years to be processed. And so usually it is only after there
has been a big outbreak and recall Â” like the recent ones involving Topps
or Nebraska Beef Â” that the public learns about how many times a plant has
failed an inspection, or been found to be in violation of safety
should know the record of the company responsible for any meat they
purchase, sums up Marler. WeÂ™ve paid for the inspections Â” we're owed
that much, at least.
An accomplished personal injury lawyer and national expert in foodborne
illness litigation, William Marler has been a major force in food safety
policy in the United States and abroad. He and his partners at Marler Clark
have represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies
whose contaminated products have caused serious injury and death. His
advocacy for better food regulation has led to invitations to address
local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including
recent testimony to the US Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Marler Clark is considered the nationÂ™s foremost law firm representing
victims of foodborne illness and other serious personal injuries. Contact
Mary Siceloff at email@example.com
or (206) 719-4705. For further information visit www.marlerclark.com and www.marlerblog.com.