Update: FDA backs off raw oyster ban

by Walter Olson on December 6, 2009

Following a huge outcry in Louisiana and elsewhere (see Oct. 28; Slashfood, Washington Times, Ryan Young/CEI), the agency will reconsider the rule. The uber-nannyish Center for Science in the Public Interest was dismayed at the delay [BayouBuzz], while the New Orleans publication Gambit, which calls the episode “a glaring example of bureaucratic overkill,” warns that after finishing further study the FDA “could still return with its faulty reasoning.” Nancy Leson at the Seattle Times passes on word from a Northwest shellfish official: “We were told by FDA officials that initially, they were planning to mandate post-harvest treatment of all oysters, and at the last minute they decided to just stick to Gulf oysters — for now.” And ubiquitous food-poisoning lawyer Bill Marler, whose publicity juggernaut rolls on* (recent Seattle Times profile — “I represent poisoned little children against giant corporations”), feels like he’s been wasting a fortune:

…let me make clear that I dumped a lot of “change” into the Democratic change wagon – I have given or raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates over the last several years. My goal was to put people in office that did good public policy. Well, I guess I needed to wake up literally and figuratively. … Now, the FDA runs and hides from the Oyster industry. … Democratic candidates – do not bother calling, this “change” machine is out of order.

*Marketing disclosure for the FTC’s benefit: when I spoke at the recent AEI food safety panel an employee of one of Marler’s journalistic enterprises presented me with one of his promotional t-shirts.

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Marler Blog
12.15.09 at 9:01 am


1 Patriot Henry 12.06.09 at 6:41 pm

“I represent poisoned little children against giant corporations”

Sounds better than “I trade YOUR liberty for the illusion of security”.

2 Bill Marler 12.06.09 at 8:30 pm

Walter – wear the shirt!

3 Bill Marler 12.07.09 at 9:44 am

Ooops – Norovirus outbreak linked to Texas Oysters:


BTW – my b%$^h about the FDA is that it made the move to limit oyster sales from the gulf (without further processing) and then ran for the hills once the politicians started complaining. Frankly, I have never taken a raw oyster case.

4 Mark Baird 12.07.09 at 11:08 pm

Mr. Walter if you were truly serious about tort reform then you would also fight for transparency in the actual amounts that are awarded but maybe your ego gets in the way of this.

5 L.C. Burgundy 12.07.09 at 11:51 pm

Heh, Walter, now seeing his general spewing on your blog, did you run over Mark’s dog or something? Tell the truth!

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