Prominent food-safety attorney Bill Marler hopes the recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak will be a wake-up call for Americans’ risky eating habits.
Marler is representing several of the 170-plus people authorities say were sickened after eating romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, one of the worst cases since a spinach outbreak that sickened about 200 and killed five in 2006.
Having settled foodborne illness lawsuits worth about $650 million over the past 25 years, Marler says many outbreaks stem from mishandled produce.
“This will piss people off in the leafy green industry, but I encourage people to buy whole heads of lettuce and wash it themselves at home,” Marler says. “All of the outbreaks involve washed, chopped, mass-produced lettuce,” he adds. “I think the industry and the consumers need to rethink whether the convenience is worth the risk.”
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