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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Another Reason that Food Safety is Important to Business – Another Settlement Reached In Spinach Lawsuit

An 86 year old Wisconsin woman has reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with the fresh produce growers and processors who she says poisoned her three years ago with a bag of spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  Jane Majeska of Fond du Lac sued Dole, National Selection Foods, Mission Organics and Pick ‘n Save on Sept. 1st for injuries she received from eating fresh bagged spinach, which was contaminated E. coli bacteria.

The parties agreed not to disclose the terms or the amount of the settlement that comes at the end of a series of litigation that follows one of the most troubling E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in history because it involved fresh produce and spread across the country so quickly.

The bagged spinach outbreak involved 26 states. Half of the 205 confirmed cases required hospitalization and 31 developed the type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Five deaths in confirmed cases are associated with the outbreak. A 2-year old in Idaho and elderly women in Wisconsin, Washington, Nebraska, and Maryland were among the fatalities.

It also cost Salinas Valley growers an estimated $100 million in lost sales.  Litigation costs ans settlements are not reported.

Majeska was one of the HUS victims and was one of the most critically ill survivors of the E. coli outbreak. Her fight for life cost a half million in hospital and doctor bills, and put her on feeding tubes and a ventilator for an extended period.