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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Who’s Watching What We Eat?

It is great to see the New York Times focusing attention on food safety – especially E. coli O157:H7 – and quite pleased to see that our clients, the Armstrongs, were interviewed:

Elizabeth Armstrong did not give the Food and Drug Administration much thought until her children became ill from eating contaminated bagged spinach.

Her 2-year-old daughter, Ashley, one of more than 200 people affected by the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in spinach last year, is still dealing with the effects of kidney failure. Today she is off dialysis and home from the hospital. But she is on daily medication and will eventually need a kidney transplant, said her mother, who lives with her family in a suburb of Indianapolis.  The incident galvanized Ms. Armstrong, turning her into something of a food-safety activist. Testifying before Congress in April, she said that the Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for regulating much of the food we eat, including spinach, needed to be reformed.  The agency has known about contamination issues with fresh produce for 10 years, she said in a telephone interview. “They have sent threatening letters to growers and packagers, but they never stepped in and told them they need to change their operations,” she continued.

“You live in the United States of America and this isn’t supposed to happen. There is an assumption that everything is going to be O.K., that someone must have checked this out, but it is not the case.”

Ms. Armstrong is one of many people demanding an overhaul of the agency. The cause gained momentum in the past year as at least three people died and more than a thousand were sickened by contaminated tomatoes, lettuce, peanut butter and spinach. But the recent contamination of pet food, which has killed many animals, seems to have been the last straw.

The Salinas Newspaper is covering this story as well.

  • That last line irks me just a little. I guess if some kids and old ladies die, then that is the cost of doing business, but heaven forbid anything happen to my fluffy!