Monday, January 26, 2015

Visiting Prof Bill Marler Featured in the New Yorker Magazine

This week's New Yorker Magazine contains an important article on food safety, A Bug in the System, Why Last Night's Chicken Made You Sick.  While the article discusses salmonella bacterial contamination of chicken and our regulatory system, it is also a tribute to our visiting professor, Bill Marler. It describes his practice, his entry into the food safety litigation world, and the incredible influence that he has had.

Consider the following excerpt from the article -
Robert Brackett, who directed food safety at the F.D.A. during the George W. Bush Administration, told me that Marler has almost single-handedly transformed the role that lawsuits play in food policy: “Where people typically thought of food safety as this three-legged stool—the consumer groups, the government, and the industry—Bill sort of came in as a fourth leg and actually was able to effect changes in a way that none of the others really had.” Hagen [former head of USDA FSIS] said the cost that Marler extracts from food makers “can be a stronger incentive or disincentive than the passing of any particular regulation.” Mike Taylor [highest food safety official at the FDA] called litigation such as Marler’s “a central element of accountability.”
Bill teaches a 1-credit class for us most years, flying in and teaching for 2 full days without any compensation. This year, he is flying in with his law partner, Denis Stearns and will be here February 23-24. We are grateful for his support and all looking forward to his visit.

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