As the L.A. Business Journal reported today, Dole Food Co. Inc. has been sued over the past few weeks by consumers who contracted a serious form of E. coli from its bagged salads, one of the company’s fastest-growing product lines.
So far, lawsuits have been filed involving five people in Minnesota and Oregon who suffered stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea or kidney failure from eating three varieties of the bagged salads. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported more than 20 people in those states, as well as in Wisconsin, have gotten sick from Dole’s salads.
Westlake Village-based Dole, which is working with state and federal investigators to determine the source of the contamination, has recalled 250,000 bags from grocery store shelves.
The recalls involve Dole’s “Classic Romaine,” “American Blend” and “Greener Selection” varieties. An Oct. 2 FDA alert advises consumers to throw away those three types of Dole salads that have “best if used by” dates of Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.
From the article:
“It’s pretty clear Dole has been definitively implicated in this,” said Bill Marler, a partner at Marler Clark who has filed the lawsuits.
Marler, who has been handling E. coli cases for more than a decade, said the lettuce gets contaminated because of groundwater problems on the farms or consumers not washing the lettuce after they open the bags. But identifying the root cause of the contamination is difficult, he said.
“We sued Dole because they are the clear manufacturer,” he said. “They’re the ones bagging it and have their name on it.”