General Mills is the “sixth largest food company in the world” with revenues for 2007 estimated to be nearly $12,500,000,000. General Mills announced today that since July 1 of this year, it had distributed more than 120 million Totino’s and Jeno’s pizzas nationwide. Surprisingly, in light of 21-reported E. coli illnesses tied to these products, General Mills has only recalled 5 million of the 120 million pizzas produced. “General Mills should immediately expand the recall to all 120 million pizzas produced during the time-frame that people were sickened,” said Bill Marler, the Seattle attorney who has dedicated his law practice to representing victims of E. coli outbreaks. According to the CDC, the earliest case was reported on July 20, and the latest was reported on October 10. The ten states reporting illness are, Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).
Marler also called on General Mills to immediately pay medical costs for the victims of the E. coli outbreak. “Without assistance in the form of monetary compensation for medical expenses, many of the families with members who were hospitalized will face financial hardship in the coming months when the bills start coming in,” said Marler. “General Mills should do the right thing and begin compensating victims of this outbreak for those most basic needs now,” Marler added.
Marler noted that other companies like Dole, Odwalla, ConAgra and Jack in the Box willingly paid medical bills when their products were identified as the source of E. coli outbreaks. “General Mills knows it’s going to pay those medical expenses in the end in the form of a settlement or jury verdict,” Marler continued. “The question is, since they know their product was the cause of these illnesses, why wait?”
Several times a month Bill speaks to industry and government throughout the United States on why it is important to prevent foodborne illnesses. He is also a frequent commentator on food litigation and safety on www.marlerblog.com. Bill also sponsors several websites related to E. coli, including www.about-ecoli.com, www.about-hus.com and www.ecoliblog.com. Bill can be reached at email@example.com or 1-206-346-1890