Marler Clark, the nation’s only law firm dedicated solely to representing victims of foodborne illness, is making a unique offer to Minneapolis-based Cargill, Inc., the company whose ground turkey has been identified as the source of a national outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella called Salmonella Heidelberg. This week, Cargill recalled 36,000,000 pounds of potentially tainted meat dating back to February 2011 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked it to at least 77 illnesses and one death.
The law firm, which represents over two dozen victims around the country who became ill with Salmonella after eating Cargill ground turkey products, has called on Cargill to immediately initiate testing for antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella, such as Salmonella Heidelberg, Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hadar and Salmonella Typhimurium. In exchange, Marler Clark will refrain from filing lawsuits and, instead, commit to working out private, amicable solutions for its clients with the company.
“We still intend to ensure that our clients’ medical bills, wage loss and damages are fully covered,” said Marler Clark attorney William Marler. “However, we’ve been at this long enough to where we’d like to see our efforts give peace of mind to both our clients and American consumers as a whole.”
Marler Clark, which has won over $600 million in settlements and judgments for food poisoning victims in the past 20 years, is no stranger to Cargill, having represented victims in multiple outbreaks tied to the food giant, including the E. coli O157:H7 case of Stephanie Smith, who was profiled in the New York Times and won the paper a Pulitzer.
“There have been plenty of chances for Cargill to commit to food safety. After all, this outbreak marks the fourth antibiotic-resistant Salmonella outbreak for the company since 2002,” added Marler. “I’ll give Cargill until next Wednesday to publicly commit to a testing program and divert any contaminated product. This isn’t the first time Cargill has found itself in this situation, but for the sake of us all, perhaps it can be the last.”
Cargill’s numerous manufacturing facilities produce meat products that are consumed by millions of Americans daily. “As this outbreak continues to unfold and people learn more about Cargill’s staggering reach, a public commitment like this could really restore confidence in American consumers,” Marler concluded.