Inconsistent Reporting Leaves Country Vulnerable to Foodborne Illnesses

The Washington Post (10/9, Levy, Yerardi, Volz) reported that “inconsistent reporting of foodborne illnesses such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli leaves large portions of the country vulnerable to the spread of potentially deadly outbreaks before health officials can identify their causes and recall contaminated foods.” The Post explained that “the breakdown between stringent and lax reporting requirements among states holds true for most illnesses, provided that requirements exist at all. The CDC recommends reporting for 20 foodborne illnesses, but fewer than half of the states require reporting for all of them.” The Post added that one of the reasons for this is a lack of funding which leaves some states with “fewer resources to test samples, conduct interviews and undertake investigations.” Listeria outbreak has sickened 109, killed 21. The AP(10/8) reported, “Federal health authorities say a nationwide outbreak of listeria in Colorado cantaloupes is now responsible for 21 deaths and the number may continue to grow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported new deaths in Indiana and New York,” and “confirmed a death in Wyoming that state officials reported last week.” It also reported that “109 people have been sickened in the outbreak.” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that “the agency is still investigating the cause of the outbreak.”

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP