The first time Mission Organics used the 50 acres south of Hollister to grow spinach last summer — trying to get organic certification for the fertile land next to the San Benito River — a farmer’s worst nightmare happened. A federal investigation pinpointed one farm in San Benito County as the probable source of E.coli-contaminated spinach that killed three people and sickened another 200 in September — and a lawyer for the victims this week named the culprit as Mission Organics.
The fact the Mission Organics was named in the lawsuit as one of the farms that supplied spinach for Dole’s “Baby Spinach” is really besides the point – there certainly may be other farms named in the coming weeks and months as our investigation continues. E. coli O157:H7 is an environmental hazard that could have infected any farm, and it has 20 other times in the last 10 years. It also does not take anything away from who is really responsible for this outbreak and that is Dole.