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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

So, are Tomatoes and Hamburger Safer in London than in USA?

Although a few thousands of miles away, I could not help thinking about the salmonella Saintpaul outbreak that has sickened over 500 in the US linked to tomatoes grown in Florida and perhaps Mexico (although with one genetic pattern (PFGE) to this outbreak, I am not sure two places sourced the contaminated tomatoes) and an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened over 50 in Ohio and Michigan linked to hamburger produced in New Jersey.  I wonder how safe the tomatoes and hamburger are here in London on the Nottingham Street Markets?

Between speeches at the Royal Institute of Public Health here in London and the University of Cardiff in Wales, I have been in contact with the office.  We have had dozens of calls from people both sickened by salmonella and by E. coli – more work to come back to.

  • Bob Hayles

    Bill, in this post you discuss the possibility that the tomato’s origins were Florida and maybe Mexico, while in your previous post you state unequivocably that Florida, NOT Mexico was the source, relying on the CDC’s epidemiologist’s statements.
    Yet about three weeks ago, the head epidemiologist for the state of New Mexico stated, with certainty, that Mexico WAS the source. I got that info from a mutual friend of ours, and followed it up with a phone call to the NM scientist in question last week, and he confirmed what our friend had told me.
    Now the CDC says the tomatos came from Florida.
    I’m not a big conspiracy theorist type person, but I do recognize that sometimes there are conspiracies, otherwise the word “conspiracy” wouldn’t exist. In this case it sounds to me like there is at least the possibility, if not a provable certainty, that “the feds”, in the form of USDA, CDC, et al, have chosen to hang the Florida growers out to dry in the interest of protecting US-Mexico trade…we cannot upset NAFTA and the Mexican government, now can we?
    After all…who’s it gonna hurt?
    The American public has a short collective memory, and will go back to buying Florida tomatos…indeed they already have, so the Florida growers took a very short term hit.
    Florida growers, for the most part, consist of large corporations with equally large liability insurance policies, so the victims have access to compensation.
    And we don’t piss off the Mexican government by calling their product poison…even if it is.
    One other benefit, at least for the food liability litigators, is that if the problem is Florida growers…those big, well insured corporations I spoke of…there is the chance of the pot of gold at the end of the lawsuit rainbow.
    On the other hand, if the problem is Mexican tomatos, I wonder how much of a settlement can be had from a group of poor Mexican dirt farmers?
    Bob Hayles