Home » Multimedia » Podcasts » Food Safety Matters » Ep. 128. Bill Marler: Perspectives on Poisoned and Food Safety Progress
Food Safety Matters
Food Safety Matters is a podcast for food safety professionals hosted by the Food Safety Magazine editorial team – the leading media brand in food safety for over 20 years. Each episode will feature a conversation with a food safety professional sharing their experiences and insights of the important job of safeguarding the world’s food supply.
An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America with his firm, Marler Clark: The Food Safety Law Firm, and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world. For the past 26 years, Bill has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the U.S. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6-million settlement with the company. The 2011 book, Poisoned, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.
Bill's advocacy for a safer food supply includes petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better regulate pathogenic E. coli, working with nonprofit food safety and foodborne illness victims' organizations, and helping spur the passage of the 2010–2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). His work has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Bill travels widely and frequently to speak to food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about the litigation of claims resulting from outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria and viruses and the issues surrounding them. He gives frequent donations to industry groups for the promotion of improved food safety, and has established numerous collegiate science scholarships across the U.S. He is also a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness and the Publisher of the online news site, Food Safety News, and his award-winning blog, www.marlerblog.com. He is frequent media guest on food safety issues and has been profiled in numerous publications.
In 2010, Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education, and in 2008 he earned the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association. He has also received the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Bill graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 1987, and in 1998 was the Law School's "Lawyer in Residence." In 2011, he was given Seattle University's Professional Achievement Award. He is a member of the board of directors of Bainbridge Youth Services and a member of the Children's Hospital Circle of Care.
This episode of Food Safety Matters features a discussion about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Food Code in light of its 30th anniversary. We are joined by two retail food safety regulators from FDA and two environmental health specialists with experience in Food Code adoption and implementation.
Britanny Saunier, M.P.A. is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE). She focuses on leveraging PFSE's historical leadership in cross-sector collaboration and ensuring organizational effectiveness to realize PFSE's mission to develop and promote effective education programs to reduce foodborne illness risk for consumers.
Britanny began as an intern at PFSE in 2011, and later served as PFSE's Director of Development, successfully increasing PFSE's program service revenue and bringing diversification to PFSE's Partner network. She facilitated program engagement with consumer and academic food safety experts, supporting PFSE programs including the National Consumer Food Safety Education Conference.
Britanny holds a master's degree in Public Administration with a Health Policy focus from the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Washington, D.C.
Ashley Eisenbeiser, M.S., C.F.S. is Senior Director for Food and Product Safety Programs for FMI, The Food Industry Association and a food scientist specializing in food safety. In her role, Ashley serves as a subject matter expert for food and product safety for FMI's food safety programs and provides support for FMI's retail, wholesale, and product supplier members on food safety training, technical services, regulatory compliance, and industry research and resources.
Prior to joining FMI in June 2013, Ashley served as a Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension, where she planned, delivered, and evaluated community nutrition, health, and food safety educational programs. Ashley is a Certified Food Scientist and received her master's and bachelor’s degrees in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech.
Ashley serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Partnership for Food Safety Education and is a member of several professional associations, including the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), and the Conference for Food Protection (CFP).
Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is a food safety academic, advisor, advocate, and author with a 30-year history of working to control foodborne illness. After losing his son, Riley, to a foodborne Escherichia coli infection in 1993, Dr. Detwiler was invited by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to collaborate on consumer education. He has since been appointed twice to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA's) National Advisory Board on Meat and Poultry Inspection, and has represented consumers as the Senior Policy Coordinator for non-governmental organizations, served on consumer food protection councils, and supported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to fulfilling his current role as Chair of the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA's) Food Safety Program, Dr. Detwiler sits on numerous advisory and editorial boards, is the Founder and CEO Detwiler Consulting Group LLC, and is an Associate Professor of food policy and corporate social responsibility at Northeastern University.
Kris de Smet, D.V.M., is the Head of the Food Hygiene Team under the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety at the European Commission. Dr. de Smet graduated as a Veterinary Doctor in 1987, and from 1988–1992, he was a Researcher at the University of Ghent, Belgium in the faculty of Veterinary Science. From 1992–2001, he was employed in the private sector, being mainly involved in veterinary services and quality control of poultry integration. Since 2001, Dr. de Smet has worked as an official at the European Commission under the Health and Food Safety Directorate-General, where he has been involved in the management of EU legislation on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and zoonoses (mainly Salmonella). Since the beginning of 2009, he has served as the head of the team coordinating EU legislation on control of food hygiene, official controls for products of animal origin, and control of foodborne zoonoses. He also coordinates the EU position at the Codex Alimentarius Committee Food Hygiene and is Co-Chair in the development of several Codex standards.
Andre Pierce joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2022 as the Retail Food Protection Division Director in the Office of State Cooperative Programs (OSCP). He came to FDA with 34 years of experience at a local health department, where he built relationships, shared knowledge, and promoted quality improvement through the Voluntary Retail Program Standards. Andre earned his B.Sc. degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.P.A. from North Carolina State University.
David Morales is the Managing Supervisor for the Environmental Health Division at Arizona's Maricopa County Environmental Services Department. He joined the Department in June 2000 as a Health Inspector for the Environmental Health Division, performing health inspections for restaurants, hotels and motels, mobile home parks, swimming pools, and school grounds. David has also served as a Hispanic Liaison, Training Officer, Supervisor, and Managing Supervisor for the Quality and Compliance Division, and he currently manages the Eastern Regional Office within the Environmental Health division. He received a bachelor's degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University, and he is a Registered Sanitarian in the state of Arizona and an REHS with NEHA. He also received a Certified Public Manager certificate from Arizona State University's Bob Ramsey Executive Education Program.
Susan Quam is the Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA). She joined WRA in January 1997, serving as the Executive Director of WRA’s Education Foundation for her first 15 years, working to promote career opportunities and scholarships within the foodservice industry and provide continuing education programs for restaurateurs. In 2012, Susan moved to the Executive Vice President position, where she works closely with WRA's President and CEO to enact the vision of the WRA board of directors. She is also one of WRA's two registered lobbyists. In addition to WRA general advocacy responsibilities, her areas of emphasis include employment law, alcohol law, food safety regulations, food defense, nutrition issues, and state/national relations.
Sarah Gallo is Vice President of Product Policy at the Consumer Brands Association (CBA). In her role, Sarah holistically oversees Consumer Brands' policy leadership on smart regulation issues, from advocacy through education to marketplace solutions. Prior to joining CBA, she served as Vice President of Agriculture and Environment for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, where she led the organization's strategy across agriculture, food systems, energy, and bio-based manufacturing. Earlier in Sarah’s career, she held roles at CHS Inc. and the National Corn Growers Association and served as Agriculture Counsel with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. She graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Marine Biology.