Stacy Finz and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle are following the quest to locate the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 191 people and killed one woman escalated Wednesday into a criminal investigation as federal agents raided the offices of two northern California produce processors for evidence that someone may have intentionally disregarded safety policies.
From the article:
William Marler, a Seattle-based attorney, who specializes in food-borne illness cases and is representing nearly 100 people in the spinach E. coli outbreak, said he can count on one hand the times when the police have gotten involved.
One of those cases was the high profile Odwalla E. coli contamination in 1996 which killed a 16-month old girl and sickened 66 people. The case ended with the Half Moon Bay company pleading guilty to federal criminal charges of selling adulterated food products and agreeing to pay a $1.5 million fine.