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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Castleberry’s should pay botulism victims’ medical bills

SEATTLE, WA (August 2, 2007)—Bill Marler, an attorney who has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks, including victims of botulism poisoning, called on Castleberry’s, the company whose chili and dog food products were recalled last month due to contamination with Clostridium botulinum, to pay all botulism outbreak victims’ medical bills today.

“Without prompt medical attention, some of the victims of this outbreak would likely be dead,” Marler said. “In past botulism cases we’ve handled, victims’ medical expenses have exceeded half a million dollars. In addition to a hospital stay, some of these people will likely go through months of physical therapy after they are released from the hospital. It all adds up, and it’s only right for the company responsible for their illnesses to step forward and front medical costs for families.”

Confirmed botulism cases since the recall was announced have been reported in Indiana (3), New Mexico (1) and Texas (2). Health officials are awaiting test results on a suspected case in Hawaii. 

“Not only did Castleberry’s poison customers by putting out an unsafe product, it appears as though the company has conducted a very ineffective recall,” Marler continued, noting that consumers were confused about which products had been recalled because the Castleberry’s products had been sold under a number of different brand names, and did not specify that Castleberry’s was the manufacturer.

In Wednesday’s edition of the Indianapolis Star, Indiana State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe was quoted as saying, "It is obvious that there has been a recall failure." The statement was made after Indiana public health officials found more than 80 recalled products still on the shelves of some Indiana stores. 

“More has to be done to protect American consumers,” Marler concluded.

BACKGROUND: William Marler is an attorney who dedicated his law practice to representing victims of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks since 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box. He is out of the country, presenting at two Australian food safety conferences, but is available for comment by email at bmarler@marlerclark.com.