Five days without a blog post.  My friends were worried that I had been either ground into hamburger or appointed Food Czar by McCain in a last ditch effort to corral the maverick vote.  Well, the truth is that I was finalizing the settlement of the last of the seventy-six E. coli O157:H7 cases we had (including three deaths and twenty-two HUS cases) stemming from the September 2006 Dole E. coli spinach cases.

Although no amount of money can ever take away the suffering and pain caused by a food borne illness outbreak, I hope that my clients can find some piece of mind knowing that by standing up for their rights, they are helping prevent the next outbreak.  All settlements were confidential.

Although the litigation was hard fought, I must compliment the attorneys and insurance carriers for Dole, Natural Selection Foods and Mission Organics for their professionalism in the practice of law and their caring for the welfare of their clients’ customers.  Special mention to Natural Selection Foods for its leadership role in preventing leafy green bacterial outbreaks.  All companies should strive for its standards.

As you might recall, on September 14, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a nationwide E. coli outbreak had been associated with the consumption of bagged baby spinach. For fear of E. coli contamination, all bagged spinach was recalled nationwide, and on September 19, 2006, FDA announced that all spinach implicated in the outbreak had been traced back to Natural Selection Foods, a company located in California’s Salinas Valley.  FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 205 E. coli illnesses associated with the spinach E. coli outbreak, including thirty-one cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, 104 hospitalizations, and four deaths. Victims of the E. coli outbreak were identified in 26 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wisconsin was the state hardest-hit in the outbreak, with 49 confirmed cases of E. coli. Canada reported one confirmed case.