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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Update from FDA on E. coli Outbreak

Posted on September 15, 2006 and updated on September 16, 2006, by Bill Marler

Affected brands

Natural Selection Foods brands include: Natural Selection Foods, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Dole, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature’s Basket, Pro-Mark, Compliments, Trader Joe’s, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Coastline, D’Arrigo Brothers, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Snoboy, The Farmer’s Market, Tanimura & Antle, President’s Choice, Cross Valley, and Riverside Farms.

Affected states

The numbers of people per state who have become ill with E.coli traced to bagged spinach –
California: 1, Connecticutt: 2, Idaho: 3, Indiana: 4, Kentucky: 3, Maine: 2, Michigan: 6, New Mexico: 5, Nevada: 1, New York: 7, Ohio: 7, Oregon: 5, Pennsylvania: 3, Tennessee: 1, Utah: 11, Virginia: 1, Washington: 1, Wisconsin: 29, Wyoming: 1

The FDA has expanded its warning to ALL fresh spinach due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination:

Based on current information, FDA advises that people NOT eat fresh spinach or fresh spinach containing-products that are consumed raw. Individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming pre-packaged spinach are urged to contact their health care provider.

At this time, Natural Selection Foods, LLC, of San Juan Bautista, California, is recalling all of its products that contain spinach in all the brands they pack with "Best if Used by Dates" of August 17, 2006 through October 1, 2006.  The Company is also known as "Earthbound Farms."

The full text of the FDA recall can be found on the FDA Website.  This outbreak has now impacted at least 20 states and getting close to 100 people sickened and one tragic death.  This is by far one of the largest E. coli outbreaks geographically in US history – See www.marlerclark.com/news-ecoli.htm for a complete history of E. coli outbreaks since the Jack in the Box outbreak of 1993.

Enterohemorrhagic E. coli outbreaks linked to pre-washed or ready-to eat spinach or lettuce, sold under various brand names, are nothing new. 

  • October 2003, when 13 California retirement center residents got sick and two died after eating E. coli-contaminated spinach.
  • September 2003 when nearly 40 patrons of a California restaurant chain got sick after eating salads made with pre-bagged lettuce
  • July 2002, when more than 50 young women got sick at a dance camp after eating pre-washed lettuce. Several of them were hospitalized, and one suffered permanent kidney damage.
  • September 2005, health authorities investigating pre-washed lettuce as a source of E. coli outbreaks in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon estimated as many as 244,866 bags of potentially contaminated lettuce made it to store shelves.  At least 23 where injured as a result of eating Dole lettuce.

We have filed two suits, one in Wisconsin and one in Oregon and are investigating nearly 20 related illnesses.  We will be adding Natural Selection Food/Earthbound Foods as defendants in both Federal Court filings on Monday morning.

  • Bethany

    Every time I see a story about an ecoli outbreak I cringe. I cannot understand why this keeps happening and why food producers have continued to allow contamination to enter the food system and then into consumer homes. Almost two years ago I contracted ecoli-0175 from what I believe was a raw hamburger from my college. The emotional and excruciating physical pain I endured will continue to ‘haunt’ me. How many more people have to die or experience more trauma from this aweful disease?

  • Jacob

    I can’t believe this is happening! I don’t like spinach, but these people who have been made ill must really be dealing with a lot, as well as you the lawyers. I can only remember having food poisoning once, and the culprit was chicken chop sui.