The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today addressed food safety at its Oversight and Investigations subcommittee today on Capitol Hill. Three families whose members suffered food poisoning after eating contaminated food sent representatives to testify in front of the committee, as did companies whose products were responsible for large foodborne illness outbreaks.

The Associated Press reports that Andrew Bridges quoted testimony from Marler Clark client Michael Armstrong, an Indiana resident whose two daughters became ill after eating E. coli-contaminated spinach last fall.

Gary Pruden, joined by his 11-year-old son, Sean, who was seriously sickened in November by E. coli after eating at a Taco Bell restaurant. Pruden said a key element of trade and commerce is trust – whether placed in accountants, airline pilots or auto mechanics.

"That is also extended to the trust in the food we order or buy from the grocery store – that it’s edible and safe. Without that trust, commerce cannot work. And where failure occurs, oversight is required," Pruden told the subcommittee.

Terri Marshall, another Marler Clark client whose mother-in-law became ill with a Salmonella infection after eating Peter Pan peanut butter in January and has not yet recovered, also testified. Mora Lou Marshall has been hospitalized or in a nursing home since early January, after she became seriously ill from eating Peter Pan. The elder Marshall, 85, had kept a jar of the peanut butter on her nightstand to supplement her diet – and had unwittingly continued to eat it, even after she fell ill.

Bill Marler was also in attendance at the hearing, and while he did not provide oral testimony, he did provide written testimony for the food safety hearing.