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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FBI executes search warrants on California spinach companies

As Ken McLaughlin and Brandon Bailey of the San Jose Mercury News have reported, agents for the FBI and FDA on Wednesday executed two search warrants on two Salinas area companies, saying they were looking for evidence of a crime.

From the article

The two companies were Growers Express of Salinas, Calif., and Natural Selection Foods of San Juan Bautista, Calif. – the company whose bagged spinach is at the center of the outbreak. It was unclear how Growers Express – which grows and packs produce in the western United States and Latin America – fits into the probe.

The latest E. coli outbreak has so far killed one person and sickened at least 192 others in 26 states and Canada.

FBI and Food and Drug Administration officials were mum on what they might have found on Wednesday. But Charles Sweat, Natural Selection’s chief operating officer, said agents had requested paperwork, including documents already provided to the FDA and the California Department of Health Services.

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney whose firm is representing 93 victims in the E. coli outbreak, said the federal agents could have been looking for "missing quality assurance documents."

"It would be a problem for the company if they are lost or, worse, destroyed," he said.