The big takeaway is that this outbreak was caused by an environmental contaminate – a lot of cows in a feedlot near the water source used to irrigate crops.

So, if nothing changes environmentally and a similar E. coli outbreak happens, what is the responsibility of the growers, processors, shippers and “points of sale” – grocery stores and restaurants?

Perhaps we should take a look at Black’s Law Dictionary on punitive damages:

“Punitive damages are designed to not only discourage the defendant in question from engaging in similar behavior in the future, but are also meant to be a message sent to society at large. Civil courts that punish reckless or negligent behavior with punitive damages indicate to others that such behavior will not be tolerated and that that behavior can lead to monetary consequences.”

If next spring another E. coli outbreak happens in Yuma linked to the same cause and people get sick and/or die – count on punitive damages against against everyone – “Farm to Fork.”

When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.

Listen here: