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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Peanut Butter CSI Sylvester

The Associated Press out of Atlanta broke our visit to the ConAgra Peanut Butter plant in Sylvester, Georgia

ConAgra’s Leaking Roof

Lawyers and investigators visit south Ga. peanut butter plant

An army of plaintiffs’ lawyers and investigators is inspecting the south Georgia peanut butter plant linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 400 people nationwide.  A team of attorneys, engineers, photographers, mapping specialists and videographers on Monday scouted the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in Sylvester, Ga., that produced the Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter recalled in February after the outbreak.

The inspectors are also taking a look at the machinery throughout the plant, said Bill Marler, an attorney with Seattle’s Marler Clark and one of several trial lawyers who organized the trip.  “When you do have a factory that’s manufacturing this much product, there’s some small glitch in the system and it gets amplified,” said Marler, whose firm is representing more than 5,000 clients. “Hopefully what we look at here gives us a feel for how the contamination likely appeared.”  The team of inspectors was organized by a handful of law firms that represent the bulk of the cases against ConAgra, but Marler estimates more than 250 law firms may eventually file a claim.  Marler, who marveled at the plant’s size, said he was determined to figure out whether the outbreak spread beyond the problems ConAgra has already revealed.

“It’s a big CSI puzzle,” he said. “That’s really what it all comes down to.”