Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chasing the Ambulance Away: Reshaping the Role of the Personal Injury Lawyer in Society and the Law

Denis Stearns, Founding Partner, Marler Clark LLP, PS, was the featured speaker at The Robert Leader Endowed Lecture, Thursday, June 17 at Michigan State University. The lecture entitled, Chasing the Ambulance Away: Reshaping the Role of the Personal Injury Lawyer in Society and the Law is available  online; click here.Stearns began his involvement in food-related litigation in 1993 as one of the lead defense attorneys handling the cases arising from the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Since helping to found Marler Clark twelve years ago, he has worked on hundreds of food outbreak cases, including recent ones involving E. coli O157:H7-contaminated Dole spinach, Salmonella in Peter Pan peanut butter and Banquet pot pies, and a spate of outbreaks involving E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef, NestlĂ© cookie dough, and raw milk.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Jim Prevor: Aggrandizing the FDA

Jim Prevor, the Perishable Pundit, has written a provocative piece, “How to Improve Food Safety: Aggrandizing the FDA Only Distracts from Real Solutions,” for The New Atlantis. Jim Prevor’s lead point—that attention on improving the FDA distracts from real solutions for nagging food safety concerns with raw produce—is well taken. Ironically, the article’s leading points—a cursory dismissal of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and a flawed discussion of product liability standards—are distractions from other solutions proposed that deserved far more attention. Indeed, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will not solve our food safety concerns with raw produce.  Nor will the law eliminate all problems with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Nevertheless, these points do not add up to a reason to withhold support for the bill.

But read on. Jim Prevor is a  voice crying out in the wilderness about the need to invest in food safety research, state health laboratories, food safety education, and agricultural extension. These crying needs are why discussion of strict liability versus  negligence are a distraction. No system of liability will generate the level of private investment in research and extension that are desired. Private interests should not be expected to invest in the commons. That is why there is a need for public investments in food safety research, state health laboratories, food safety education, and agricultural extension for the greater common good.

For my Francophone readership, Jim Prevor’s article was translated into French and is available here.

Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy, Como Lake, Italy

The 2nd EFFL Summer Academy in Global Food law & Policy will be held on July 26-30, 2010, at the beautiful Villa La Collina on the shores of the Como Lake, Italy. Building on the successful previous edition, the academy will offer scientific reflection and discourse on key legal and policy issues in European and World food law as well as information and updates on the latest developments. This will be achieved through a dynamic, informal and highly interactive five-day programme, which includes lectures, presentations, discussion groups and social activities. The faculty of the academy consists of food experts coming from relevant authorities, European and US institutions, academia, legal practice and the industry.


Alberto ALEMANNO Associate Professor of Law HEC, Paris

David BYRNE S.C. Former EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection

Dirk DETKEN Head of the Units Legal & Policy, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Marsha A. ECHOLS, Director of the World Food Law Institute, Washington D.C.

André EVERS, Food and Veterinary Office, European Commission

Andreas KADI, Chief Science Officer, Red Bull GmbH

Susanne KETTLER, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Director, Coca-Cola Company

Vittorio SILANO, Chair of the Scientific Committee, European Food Safety Authority



 The summer academy will cover main aspects of the law and policy of food regulation. Thereby, it will give a broad overview on the subject from a legal as well as a public policy point of view. In particular, it will discuss on the following:

- The global and international food regulation (WTO, SPS/Codex Alimentarius, WHO/FAO)

- The State of Play of WTO trade disputes (Hormones II, COOL, Australia Apples, EC-Poultry) and EU Food regulation (Food Supplements, enriched foodstuffs, novel food and Food Improvement Agents Package)

- The emergence of private standards
- Food quality and labelling issues

- The new challenges facing EFSA (Health Claims; Animal Cloning; Safety and claims of botanical) and its relationships with US FDA/USDA

- The risk analysis framework as applied in the food regulation sector

- The system of official controls
- Data sharing, protection and compensation in pre-market approval regimes


Please apply no later than May 30, 2010.
Further information, please visit: