A total of 107 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 31 states linked to Cargill ground turkey. Ruby Lee was one of those. She lives in Oregon.

Since 1993, Cargill has been the source of contaminated meat implicated in at least 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 366 illnesses. Ruby Lee was one of those Illnesses.

Last week I offered to fore go filing suit, if Cargill would agree to test for antibiotic-resistant Salmonella and to divert any positive lots to be cooked. Cargill’s lawyer’s response was “I am authorized to accept service. Well, here it is – See, Complaint PDF.

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As I was finishing the edits on the complaint, I recalled a speech I gave in China last year to a group of Chinese law students.  I was explaining the United States civil justice system.  They were truly shocked that in the United Sates a parent could take on a government or a major corporation and seek damages for what happened to their child (think 300,000 sickened by melamine-tainted infant formula) without fear of dismissal or jail.

Our system may well not be perfect, but it certainly beats the alternative.  Frankly, it is time for Cargill to step up and lead on this food safety issue.