September 2006

Marilynn Marchione, a medical writer for the Associated Press, reports that despite the recent E. coli spinach outbreak, food may be safer now than at any other time in the last decade, with illness occurring at record-low rates, according to new federal statistics:

Consumers get part of the credit, for handling food more safely at home, but experts say the biggest improvement came from better industry controls and inspections.

“The food is actually cleaner to begin with,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe, top food scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain germs have dramatically declined, and “that to me is really solid progress.”

However, the trend could reverse in coming years if fruit and vegetable growers do not address problems like those that led to the spinach scare, Tauxe and others said.

“The meat and poultry industry has made great strides. The produce industry has a long way to go to catch up,” said Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who heads the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety.

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I knew this moment would be coming (SPINACH IS SAFE), but frankly, I thought it would be after the conclusion of an investigation, with conclusions and reforms.  I find it perplexing, if not shocking, that Dr. Acheson, for who I have great respect, would simply say all is clear without knowing why this

More “smoking” bags of DOLE spinach.   Great job to Health Departments across the country for taking the time to test this material for E. coli O157:H7.  Hopefully, it will help link to where in the chain of distribution DOLE’s product became contaminated.  However, make no mistake, wherever the product became contaminated, DOLE and Natural

How a Tiny Law Firm Made Hay Out of Tainted Spinach

September 27, 2006; Page B1

Before health officials warned the public about bad spinach, before grocers yanked fresh spinach off their shelves, before consumers cleaned out their refrigerators, the Seattle law firm Marler Clark had filed its first bad-spinach lawsuit.

Then, as word of the bacteria outbreak began to spread this month, lawyers at the firm posted messages on the firm’s E. coli blog, They reached out to reporters and waited for the calls and emails to stream in. Now Marler Clark is representing 76 clients. Bill Marler, a 49-year-old partner in the firm, tracks them with Post-it Notes on a U.S. map hanging in his office.

This latest outbreak of E. coli isn’t the biggest food catastrophe in recent years, in terms of the number of cases, but it is significant for its geographic reach. Extending far beyond just one restaurant or company, it has reared its head in 26 states and Canada and prompted a massive recall of fresh spinach. As of last night, it had affected 183 people and resulted in 95 hospitalizations, one death — and five lawsuits filed by Marler Clark clients.

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The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has reported on a spinach lawsuit filed in Rochester in U.S. District Court late Tuesday afternoon on behalf Patricia Ann McCoy of Pittsford, who got sick after eating a bag of Dole brand baby spinach she bought from Martin’s Super Food Store in Perinton on or about August 21.