Recalls of Tainted Meat Not Working, Attorney Says


SEATTLE, WA – “The Federal Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and state agencies set records this year for recalls of tainted meat. However, these recalls are apparently not preventing outbreaks,” said Seattle attorney, William Marler.

“Recalls are announced when the cow is already in the chute,” he continued. “A perfect example, is the recall of 1.1 million pounds of ground beef distributed by American Foods Group on November 2nd and 3rd – over a month ago. How much of this contaminated meat has already been consumed?”

“A more effective method would be to require meat processors to test for pathogens like E. coli O157:H7, and hold distribution of meat until results show that it is truly safe for human consumption,” Marler said. This procedure, known as “Test and Hold,” is voluntarily used by some food companies. Mr. Marler urges federal and state regulators to impose the “Test and Hold” method on all meat supplied to consumers.

“Already this year the U.S. has seen more meat recalls of any year since 1993, when federal and state governments increased their efforts to keep the meat supply safe in the after-math of the massive Jack-in-the-Box outbreak,” Marler said.

According to FSIS, with a month remaining in the year 2000, there have already been 66 recalls of meat manufactured by plants subject to federal inspection, and 10 recalls at state regulated retail establishments, for a total of 77. Last year’s 62 recalls was the previous post 1993 high. Below is a list of the number of recalls that occurred in each year after 1993:

  • 1999 - 62
  • 1998 - 44
  • 1997 - 27
  • 1996 - 25
  • 1995 - 42
  • 1994 - 50

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Background: Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of food-borne illness. William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement with Jack in the Box. In May 1998, Marler Clark settled the Odwalla Juice E. coli outbreak for the five families whose children were severely injured after consuming contaminated apple juice. Marler Clark is currently lead counsel in actions stemming from E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and hepatitis outbreaks in Washington, California, Ohio, Oregon, Missouri, Arizona, and Wisconsin. Marler Clark has also litigated on behalf of individuals against KFC, McDonalds, Hardees, Wendy’s, Subway, Sizzler, and Carl's Jr..