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Marler Blog

Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Costco Kicks Taylor Farms Under the Bus

bus11Costco said to the Oregonian:  “This is wonderful news” – but, for whom?

AP Seattle reported earlier today that testing in Montana has pointed toward a vegetable mix from a California food wholesaler as the source of E. coli O157:H7 in Costco chicken salad that has been linked to an outbreak that has sickened 19 people in seven states, a Costco official said Wednesday.

Craig Wilson, Costco vice president of food safety and quality assurance, said he was told by the Food and Drug Administration that the strain of E. coli O157:H7 seems to be connected to an onion and celery mix.

The company uses one supplier for those vegetables in the chicken salad sold in all its U.S. stores, Wilson said.

One additional test is needed to confirm that the vegetables carried the same E. coli strain connected with the outbreak, he said.

Wilson identified (a.k.a. “kick under the bus”) the supplier as Taylor Farms in Salinas, California.

Phone calls to the company did not get answered on Wednesday afternoon. A message left with the FDA was not immediately returned.

Costco, it might be “wonderful news” to you, but not to the 19 members (and counting) sickened by the product that Costco sold them, and should have been responsible for making sure it did not contain E. coli O157:H7.

Costco is legally and morally responsible for its supply chain, and embracing that would be “wonderful news.”