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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Yuma E. coli O145 Romaine Lettuce Connection – Andrew Smith Company?

Although Yuma has not been linked to an "leafy green" E. coli outbreak in the past – O157:H7 or otherwise – like O145, it is not like Yuma is risk free – it has more than a few cattle feedlots and is a major flyway for migrating birds.  It also has the "All American Canal."  I wonder what the bacteria count is in that water?

Although more than a few sources have implicated Andrew Smith Company as the source of the Romaine Lettuce that was processed at Freshway Foods and shipped to 23 states and the District of Columbia, there are more things to think about other than the Andrew Smith Company.  For example:

1.  Was any other Romaine Lettuce, from any other source, utilized at Freshway Foods?

2.  What about cross-contamination at the Freshway Foods plant from ill employees or other contaminated product or environment?

3.  What about transportation?  Yuma is a long way from Ohio.  Did the truckers keep the Romaine Lettuce cold?

4.  Also, did Andrew Smith Company supply Romaine Lettuce to any other facility?  Any linked to illnesses?

On top of the above questions, is the E. coli O145 outbreak itself.  Why is this the first O145 outbreak in food that I am aware of in the U.S. (see, www.outbreakdatabase.com)?  Answer, because labs, the government and industry never test for O145.  If you do not test, you do not find.  Therefore, you do not have a problem.  Well, actually, yes you do.