Barbara Kowalcyk and her husband, Michael, were propelled into food safety advocacy in 2001, when their two-year-old son, Kevin, died after suffering an E. coli O157:H7 infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Barbara served on the Board of Directors for S.T.O.P. (Safe Tables Our Priority) for several years, and recently formed the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI).

The Kowalcyks had limited knowledge of foodborne illness before their son got sick. The family lived in Wisconsin at the time. They now live in Loveland, Ohio, near Cincinnati.

“Our public health department didn’t have the resources or, frankly, the desire to spend a lot of time investigating our case because it wasn’t part of an outbreak,” Kowalcyk said. “They did very little to help us. We only found out what we did because we contacted an attorney and he worked on our case.

  • sonja thayer

    I would like to support kevins law can you send me info on how to do so.

  • Andrea

    I too would like to support kevins law…please let us know what we can do.

  • William Sternman

    I used to ask all my Federal Representatives, including President Obama, to act on passing Kevin’s law.

  • Alisha DiMasi

    Hello, I belong to a Slow Food group on my college campus in New Hampshire and we were wondering how our group could help your cause. Anything we can do, please let us know!

  • Kevin Dolan

    I would like to send you my resume for review. I read your story in the Cincinnati Enquire on July 27th, 2009. I am an Instructor on Food Protection and Safety for the Ohio National Guard. I am seeking a position were I an educate the general public in food safety. If you have any questions, please email me at or connect me at 765-561-2214.
    Sinerely Yours
    – Kevin

  • Cheron Tomkins

    woman is on a life support machine and a three-year-old girl is seriously ill after an E.coli outbreak, with a possible link to a fish and chip shop.
    The family of Karen Morrisroe-Clutton, from Wrexham, who has an 11-week-old baby, said she fell ill after eating a vegetarian burger.
    A three-year-old girl has renal failure in a Liverpool hospital.
    The National Public Health Service (NPHS) for Wales is investigating four cases. The chip shop has been shut.
    Llay Fish Bar, Llay, Wrexham has been closed since 30 July and an indefinite closure order was granted by the town’s magistrates on Monday.
    A Wrexham council spokeswoman said: “It will remain closed until we’re satisfied that health requirements and legislation have been met.”
    An environmental health officer told the court that two of the four cases tested had been confirmed as being a common strain.
    The other two cases have not been confirmed as being linked as yet.

  • Stacy Simenz

    Thank you for sharing your story and motivating others to fight for safe food for our families, friends, and communities.

  • Kathleen Balfe

    An idea! How can I contact you?

  • kathy

    I just saw Food inc and was sickened about the whole process.I got sick from ecoli back in the 90’s from the sprouts,that was terrible.This has to stop they have to change this system.They are exploiting everyone.You stay the course we are listening,and we will get to that better place we have to keep pushing back and not give in.
    Thank You for your fight
    kathy mccord

  • Kate Crooks

    I thank you for agreeing to be involved with the making of Food Inc. Your battle provides a cause worth supporting. I will contact my representatives and ask them to reintroduce Kevin’s Law.

  • tina palazza

    i am so sorry that you had to suffer so greatly, it should never have happened. i would love to support your efforts. your work is a huge step for change that people need. please include my email for any chance that i can support Kevin’s Law and your work to make food safer.
    thank you,

  • Nicolina

    i just saw food inc and was disgusted with how the food industry is making a profit by harming the American consumer. I want to help support your efforts on passing kevins law in my local community. please send information on how i can help in my community.

  • Barry Koehler

    Dear Ms. Kowalcyk,
    I would like to express my deepest sympathies to you, your husband, and your extended family on the loss of Kevin. I cannot imagine what you went through.
    I learned of your story through the new movie, “Food Inc.”. It’s my hope that your story will reach millions through this film. Once the movie was finished, I wrote to Judy Biggert, my congressional representative for the state of Illinois, and asked her to support HR 3160.
    Given what a hot-button topic health insurance is today, how could anyone not see that this ties directly into that?
    Sadly, the story in this movie can pretty much be applied to several industries – banking, housing, health care, etc.
    Money is the root of all evil – cliche? Maybe – but still very true. Until we can get the money out of the system, we have a very difficult road ahead of us.
    My best wishes to you, your mother, and all of your efforts. I pray the HR 3160 will be passed into law. Don’t give up – your persistence will be rewarded.
    For those of you who ask, “What can we do?” Write your representatives. Believe it or not, the old stand by method of writing is still one of the most effective ways to get your voice heard.

  • Lori Bowen

    I am sorry for what you went through with your son, it should never have happened! I was in tears watching your portion on Food, Inc. I am a mother of 4 children and struggle financially to buy good foods over cheaper unhealthier foods. I want to support your efforts any way I can. Your effort to prevent this from ever happening again is very applaudable. Please include my email for any chance that I can support Kevin’s Law and your work to make food safer.
    Lori Bowen

  • bonnie

    hellow. i just watched food inc.- and i am completly horrifide. i can not imagine. i have a neice contacted ecoli when she started eating solid foods. she started having “sea-sures” (i can’t spell it)and is now delayed develop mentally. i live on fast food for the bulk of my 25 years- i have a kidney disease, systs,blood disorders, and amy other things the doctore just cant explain. i’m just now starting to see that what i want to eat will kill me. just like smoking- and to me just as addictive- trust me i know.
    it has been harder for me to give up soda that smoking. there is nothing i can do when it comes to legislature- but it wasn’t enough for me to do good for my self. but the death of an innocent child- nothing inrages me more. and in such a painfull way. i plan on chaning what i can – as far as it concerns me and being a nanny- the childen that i care for.
    thank you and kevin will be in my thoughts and words especially on the 10th.
    thank you for fighting for what is right and just in the sight of all that is good and all who believe in life rather than money.

  • Just saw Food Inc. I appreciate what you are doing! Keep up the good work!



  • crystal

    Please send me info on how to help you support kevins law! Also any advice you have on how i can be more careful with my shopping to protect my family from this. Thanks!

  • Jim andrade

    Please send info on how I can help. Just watched food Inc. and I need to get involved. Thank you so much, for your time and your story. This is a fight that can be won. Any info at all would be greatly appreciated.

  • Megan

    I really want to help. There is no safe food. I just watched food inc and I need to do something. I don’t know where to start. Email me with suggestions or if I can do anything to help your cause. Thanks

  • Pauline Brodeur

    My GI Doctor recommended that I watch, “FoodInc”‘ Now I know why he suggested it! I want to get more ivolved. Barbara, I am so sorry for the loss of your son Kevin. Thanks for lifting the veil.
    I want to help make organic food more affordable to the public. How can we make this happen. I am signing petitions for food safety, but what else can I do? -Pauline

  • I just watched Food, Inc. and must say, I am in a state of shock with what is being covered up and what a small group of people like Barbara Kowalcyk are doing to reveal the truth.
    After watching the film I am committing to doing what I can. First, buy locally and organically. I have been thinking of this for some time, now I know it is time.

  • Hawna

    Thank you to Barbara for sharing her story. I have a 2 year old son too, so it touched my heart. I will make all the right food choices for my family thanks to you. I think if we all could buy local farmers market products, one by one we make a change. Through FOODINC., Kevin has possibly changed food industry for good. I have had 3 friends tell me to watch this movie cause it changed the way they buy food.

  • Kim Dalgleish

    Today January 3 2010 I watched a documentary
    (food Inc.)and this is the first I have heard of Kevin`s Law.
    From this day forward I vow to read the labels. I will choose to purchase from my local farmers.
    I know it is a small step, but you need to walk before you can run.
    Kim from Kingston Ontario Canada

  • E.C.

    I watched the movie food inc. and it brought to light a whole new world to my friends that I already knew existed. I suffered E-Coli from hamburger approx ten years ago and I came close to dying.1 month in Intensive care with tubes everywhere. I guess I was lucky. I just hate that Barbara had to lose her son to this. Due to the E-coli it changed my whole intestinal tract, now I have immune system problems that I didnt have before. So please my friends spread the word. If you do really want to eat meat make sure its cooked well done. Thanks and God bless. E.C. North Carolina

  • Lisa Napolitano

    H.R. 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 passed in the House of Representatives in July. Now it’s in the Senate’s hands. This Act includes the basic principles of Kevin’s Law.Write your senators! Encourage your friends to watch Food, Inc. The food industry can be changed.

  • Yoko Knox

    I saw Food Inc lately and first thing came to my mind is that I couldn’t believe she fed a 2 year old a hamburger!! I think parents in this country should be more educated what they feed their children. Especially to children, you should be careful buying organic meat and don’t ever feed them processed food.

  • John

    Hello, I just watched FOOD INC. I am glad that there are people like you in the world!You make the world a better place to live because your world is bigger than the corporate America. THANK YOU! I am on board!

  • Jennifer Hodges

    I also just saw Food Inc, and I will be contacting my representatives and President Obama to support Kevin’s Law. Thank you for your hard work on behalf of all families.

  • Lexi

    I just watched Food Inc. and I’m completely on your side!! Good luck and keep trying you have my support 100%!!!!!

  • megan

    i am a 14 year old and i just watched food inc. and i would love to go for Kevins Law because i am so sorry that happened and that it has taken this long and it still is not a law. if you could possibly send me more information that would be great. i would like to learn more about kevins law and just everything.

  • Andrea

    I would love to join your research & prevention mission and wonder how I can help. As I watched your story & me having a 2 year old girl I cried my eyes out in sadness & anger that the government just turned thier backs on your precious son & family. Please inform me as to what I can do here in Illinois to make a sifference & help you & our country out in this fight to make food safer! You are an amazing person & your strength has inspired me.

  • Kathleen

    I just recently watched Food Inc. I am so sorry about your son Kevin. God bless him. The American public is very lucky to have you as a food safety advocate. Thank you very much. Please spread the word for people to cook their meat to 165 degrees. It is the key, in this day and age, to protect our children. I will absolutely, in memory of Kevin, write to my Senators to support your cause. Thank you very much.

  • susan van duyne

    you story touched me deeply and i feel that all of us could be you,that is why your story is so important. your courage is amazing . i will write my congressmen today to help with kevins law, god bless.

  • Megan

    yes, i am the same 14 year old i would love to support kevins law…so please send me information..:/

  • Lexi

    You have recently got another comment from me and I just wanted to let you know that I will be sending you a letter shortly addressing Kevin’s Law and how I feel. But I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am for your loss.

  • Helen

    I just simply want to say thank you for your advocacy work. As a mother of 2 young children, I really appreciate your effort to make our food safer. Many many thanks.

  • Cassandra Gallardo

    Hi im a student at Santa Barbara High School. In Santa Barbara, CA. I am doing a persuasive essay on the meat industry and how it could be improved. I was wondering if i could have email contact with you. for an interview for my essay.

  • Cassandra Gallardo

    Hi im a student at Santa Barbara High School. In Santa Barbara, CA. I am doing a persuasive essay on the meat industry and how it could be improved. I was wondering if i could have email contact with you. for an interview for my essay.

  • JP

    I am 100% behind you and I appreciate what you are doing. Thank you. I did however find it a little disturbing that you released balloons into our atmosphere which is technically bad.

  • Monica

    Kevin’s death has changed my life as a mother. Please know that baby did not die in vain. I am a different woman, as well as mother today. I love you both forever.

  • Debbie

    I almost lost my son in 1982 to E.coli and HUS and seeing Food,Inc. brought it all flooding back. Please let me know what I can do to to support this.Blessings

  • Hilary Cockrell

    I thought I had come to terms with the fact that I would never know how my children got sick.I have changed my mind since I watched Food Inc.I know you dont want sympathy but I guess what I feel is empathy.All 3 of my children had ecoli and H.U.S.I have no idea where they got sick.I just cant get your little boy off my mind.My children were in Kentucky in 2007 when they got sick.They had the best care I could have asked for and are all 3 living.I thank the Lord for that.I dont really know what or how to say what I am feeling but your efforts are making a difference.Thank you

  • Kathleen

    My husband and I just watched “Food, Inc.” on PBS. Your son was beautiful, I am so sorry for your loss. I applaud your bravery and dedication, and I am chilled that you did not feel you could safely talk about what you eat now.
    Thank you for your advocacy. I’m heeding your advice.

  • Michelle Budzichowski

    I watched Food Inc and it really opened my eyes to where our meat/food is coming from. You reached alot of people,including myself.You are so brave and the most unselfish person.You fight in Kevins name and so will I.Keep on keeping on, alot of people are listening.I have a few letters to write.
    Thank You so much Michelle

  • Destinee

    We watched Food Inc in class and your story really moved me. You are indeed very brave and i’m glad you have inspired others with your story aobut your Son Kevin. I do hope they re-instate Kevin’s law.

  • Ellen

    I watched food inc. last night and was most impacted by your sons story. My entire view has changed on how our food is produced and consumed. I am sorry for your loss, but thank you for your fight and what you are doing to teach the rest of us. I am changing how I shop and eat from last night forward. All the best in yours and your family’s future.

  • Anne Marie Jackson

    I too watched Food Inc. I just wanted to express my sadness for the loss of your beautiful son. Your work is so vital. Thank you for being so strong and persistent. Pls let me know how i can help. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Simon Goetzel

    Hello, I heard your story on Food Inc and have been following many studies on Chlorine Dioxide which is used to treat the water supply to kill pathogens. It also kills E.Coli. I have taken it in capsule form under the MMS2 name. I am not selling any of these, i have simply used it myself. Look for yourself at the video links below. The health industries don´t want us to know this as they can´t patent it as you can buy it from your local pool store. However our bodies naturally produce Hypochlorous acid to fight infection, this capsuel form i took gives it a super boost to kill of many know pathogens. Did it work? Killed my flu dead in a day and it was one of those wherre i had been deathly ill for over one week. It also killed off all the coldsores i had in my nose when i applied it by opening the capsule in like 70ml of water and put in on an earbud from the glass into my nose. It killed them all off and they were gone the same day. Never had that with “traditional” medicine. Scientists are now experimenting wit Chlorine Dioxide as a gas in treatment of bacteria on food.

  • Ann Spellman

    Dear Barbara and Michael Kowalcyk:
    I just saw a POV special on PBS with you about your son and your firm stand before Congress and a hugh industry. I was very moved by the story, as we have two children, now 8 and 10, that would be playmates with your Kevin had he survived.
    My son is now 10 going on 11 in August (your son would be almost 12). I feel your pain. Our son was diagnosed 4 years ago with a retinal eye disease that is taking away his vision; however, his life is spared. How can I relate? I tell everyone when they ask, “How are you dealing with your son’s loss of vison?” that there was a much greater chance of loosing him to cancer (~1 in 1000 vs. 1 in 10,000 to 20,000 with his eye disease). I never considered something as seemingly “harmless” as eating a fastfood hamburger as dangereous as cancer or worse.
    God bless you for your strength and faith and commitment to doing the “good, right, and just” thing, admist your pain and loss. I know your little boy is in heaven; Jesus is watching you and him at the same time, letting your boy know how much Mommy & Daddy loves him. Please know how much you have touched so many moms and dads that are suffering a loss right now…I’m crying as I’m writing this, as I know your pain is so much more than I could imagine, and I’m embarrassed at how I have grieved at my son’s loss of vision “too much” compared to what could have transpired.
    Forgive me, and anyone who does not come and support you immediately and completely. You have given great purpose to your little boy’s life, albeit just 2 and 1/2 years…more than many who have lived a century! Because of Kevin’s Law–that I believe will be passed and upheld if our nation is of any moral value at all–many other lives will be saved. Your little boy is a hero, quite simply, and angels in heaven are singing just for him.
    If you need suppport (as in numbers and names) let me know. I am a teacher in a Christian school that will back a Godly cause 100%. I realize that in society it is often a numbers game…although it does not feel like a game to those who have lossed a loved one due to injustice and immoralaity at all. Let me know if I can provide the names for any petition needed…not sure if you have litened to Jay Sekulow Live, but he and his team are really good at such things, as I’ve heard on the radio.
    God bless you, Jesus comfort you, and may those around you be the arms of Christ,
    Ann Spellman
    Blessings through Christ Jesus,
    Ann Spellman

  • Mohammad Nasir

    Dear Barbra,
    it has been 2 days as I saw the documentry (Food Inc.), to be honest with you I just cant stop thinking about Kevin.

    May Allah Bless his soul, and its our beliefe that children go straight to heaven. and I am 100% sure that Kevin is in a better place now.

    Being a father of 2 daughters, I do understand how you feel, I write this with tears in my eyes.
    it can be any ones child.
    although I am not an american but still this is a globle problem which should be addressed.

    I havent seen my wife and children for a year now and your story not only touched me but worried me alot.
    Kevin’s law is not only Kevin’s law…its law of health for all our children.
    so try try and try again.

  • Stephanie Knowles

    I would like to help support Kevin’s Law, where can I find more info?

  • Taylor Kalenian

    I cried when I first heard Kevin’s story. I promise to do everything in my power to push his law. I support him, and all the others who have died or are dying from e. coli.

  • Sandra

    Hello All,
    For my college course we are trying to raise awareness about the numerous problems within the food production industry. I invite all to check out my groups and my classmates work. Some of our work is still in progress.
    1. ProtectOurFood.Blogspot.Com
    Feel free to discuss, leave comments, or share data that we can use for our future actions towards trying to help raise awareness to this problem.
    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving,
    Sandra V.

  • Kayla D’Aprix

    I am a Freshman in High School. In my school it is the time for National History Day and our topic is Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, and Consequences. I chose my topics done research on two diffrent ones but then changed it. I have watched the Food Inc. video and already started on research about the law. I wanted to help but then I was like, I already did some research so why not do it on this topic. I need Primary Resources really bad and you are the first person I thought of contacting. I am only fourteen and Kevin’s Law spoke to me so I am really excited to get to know more things about this, for myself and for this project. For NHD I am making a website and I would like help with more information.
    Thanks, Kayla

  • John Blalock

    I am doing loads of research on making America stronger and safer for all citizans, rich or poor and black or whilte (and any other colors). I have found the basis to say that politics is killing America from the inside out.
    I am a single father but I am taking on the headache of a life time and in 2012 I will run for President. I have a firm belief the power of the President, his staff and all the other elected officials rest with the people not the corperations.
    So if anyone has a copy or knows where I may aquire a copy of Kevin’s Law please e-mail it to me at
    Thank all of you for your time and to Barbara I am very sorry on so many levels for your loss. I can’t imagine the loss of one of my own . However if by some way I should win this race ( I don’t want to say promise as even the President is limited by Congress) I swear to do all I can to get Kevin’s Law passed.
    Anyone that wishes to may contact me by e-mail.
    John Blalock

  • Hi,
    i became a father in 15 Months ago of one little boy.
    I just saw today the movie ” FOOD Inc “. I’m afraid….
    I would like to support the KEVIN’s law as every parents, i hope….
    I based in Geneva in Switzerland and after saw the movie, i am very worried for the future of our childrens …
    Do you have an association ?
    Please let me know…
    Frederic U.

  • Stacey Wartell

    I would like to help and write letters to whom ever I can. I also have a class of students (over 18) that would like to write to support Kevins Law. Can you please advise? Thank you.

  • Sara Aguilar

    I too would also like to receive more information on how to best support Kevin’s law. I am a first time mother and have obsessed over what to feed my daughter and Food Inc was a huge eye opener. Being a mother I can’t even imagine what you had to go through to get to where you are. But I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing.

  • Joelle

    I would love to support Kevin’s Law! What can I do? It is a dirty, rotten shame that this never got passed. I am outraged!!!!!!!

  • Brigitte B

    Ms. Kowalcyk,
    I just watched “Food Inc” with our daughters aged 11, 14, 19. You will not get any pity from us but all our heartfelt sympathy. I cannot imagine the loss of a child but to use such a tragedy to help others and make changes is amazing. How can we help from Canada? We are trying to educate our children from a young age to be informed and make thoughtful decisions. We are trying to vote “3 times a day”.
    Good luck with your/our fight: it is everybody’s fight but most don’t know it yet.

  • Tammy

    I’m looking for a way to get involved in Kevin’s law to support it. can someone please help get me in the right direction? I’m heartbroken over their loss. Thank you for the help, Tammy

  • Shelbi Johnson

    Hello, I’m 16 years old and I recetly watched one of your videos at school. I am very interested in this, and I would like to know what I can do to support your work.

  • alex

    hello my name is alex and i just watched the movie food inc.
    and i can not even begin to explain how mortified i was and all i could was cry and think of how bad our way of life has become.
    i would also like to say to the kowalcyk family that i am so sorry for the loss of there son kevin.
    i hope that with each day we all can make the effort to change how we live and act towards our echo system and one another.

  • Eve Wellish

    Hi! I am the president of my middle school, and I’m extremely mortified, yet interested about your story. I watched the movie food Inc., and I recall you talking about how you speak about the story of your son’s e coli poisoning and about Kevin’s Law to get the word out. Please contact me, I would love to have you come and speak. Thank you so much! My email is

  • NicK Davila

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has been an eyeopener. I have recently watched Food Inc. and like so many, had no idea of what was really happening behind the scenes as it relates to food preparation. I have a 5 year old daughter and have become extremely vigilant as to the food she eats and where it comes from. We no longer frequent the fast food as much as we we used to and when we do we look for the healthier food choices, if there is such a thing in the fast food world. I am in full support of your efforts in trying to get “Kevin’s Law” passed. What can I do and how can I help.

  • Ann Post

    I am a Coach for a FIRST Lego League team in West Chester, OH. Our research project this year focuses on Food Safety. The kids ranging in age from 6-14 have to pick a food and follow it through the process from farm to table. They have to come up with a solution to a contamination risk we found along the process. This has been an eye-opening experience for the kids and myself. Hopefully tragedies like your loss of Kevin will and can be prevented in the future. With all the recent outbreaks of Listeria (my team’s focus), I am happy to educate my team on food safety. It certainly makes you think before you buy groceries. I am sorry for your tragic loss and support you in your efforts to educate the public about food safety.

  • brianna huntley

    Dear Barbara kowlacky
    I recently saw the movie food Inc. When I heard what happened to your son, I was Inspired to live a healthier life and to advocate for the importance of knowing the origins of my food. I thank you for inspiring me to shape my future because I have a lot ahead of me (I’m 13).
    Best regards,
    Brianna Huntley.

  • Jasmine Nash

    Dear Barbara,
    I would like to say how unbelievably sorry I am for the horrible loss you and your family have suffered, I would also like to say that I’m overwhelmed with the work that you do, I know it is an unbelievable fight you’re fighting but I would like you to know that you have a massive back ground of support from around the world, I’m from England, I’m 22 and the story of your son has made me very sad but now very much more aware of my safety when it comes to the food I consume. Stay strong, you are surrounded by love from everyone.
    Many thanks for everything you do.
    Jasmine Nash.

  • Micah Butters

    Dear Mrs. Barbara Kowalcyk:
    When I saw the movie Food Inc. for a class project my class mates and I were very inspired by your pressing perseverance and strong will to change the regulations for our food. We thank you for giving us reassurance that there is somebody in the world who is fighting to make a change.

  • Marissa

    Dear Barbara,
    Im very touched by your work and I myself am also trying to help change things here with a small group of people I know. I feel if we all do our part we all can make a deffrence. Also I am very Sorry for what yourfamily has been though.

  • Beth Crawford

    Dear Barbara, I watched in horror Food Inc, and my heart broke for the senseless loss of little Kevin. As a new grandmother I fear for this generation. So much deceipt, greed and power that appears to render us powerless in a time where we rely on an industry to feed us. Please guide me in how I may help to help make Kevins Law reintroduced as law. Beth Crawford