As Tim Hay of the San Mateo County Times reported today, a multinational food company and a Salinas vegetable farm have been ordered to pay an undisclosed amount to an elderly woman who was sickened in an outbreak of E. coli in a local retirement home, as well the son of a woman who died

As the Herald Salinas Bureau reports, Marler Clark clients who were victims of an E. coli outbreak involving contaminated vegetables grown in Salinas Valley are settling their claims against the restaurants serving tainted produce in 2003.
But the legal cases continue while the restaurant owners attempt to pin the blame on Salinas Valley produce companies,

Half Moon Bay fruit-juice maker Odwalla Inc. has reached a settlement — reportedly for $12 million to $15 million — with the families of five young victims of a 1996 food-poisoning outbreak caused by a tainted batch of the company’s apple juice.
The hefty settlement brings closer to an end a painful saga for the company and victims’ families, which began when Washington health authorities announced the outbreak at Halloween a year and a half ago. The company now has settled 17 lawsuits, with three remaining.
“It’s behind us now and we will move on,” said Terry Beverly of Seattle, a Microsoft engineer whose son, now 4, hovered near death after being stricken with an advanced stage of poisoning caused by a deadly microbe known as E. coli O157:H7.
“We’re very pleased to be able to fully compensate these children and to move forward with the families and with the lawyers to address the bigger issues of food-safety awareness,” said Chris Gallagher, a company official.


Continue Reading ODWALLA SETTLES 5 JUICE LAWSUITS ‘SINCERE’ TALKS IMPRESS POISONED SURVIVOR’S DAD

Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit today in King County Superior Court against Senor Felix Gourmet Mexican Foods, a California Corporation implicated in the recent Shigella outbreak. The named plaintiffs are Larissa Spafford, Robert B. Spafford, and their two-year-old son, Jasper, of Port Townsend, Washington. Ms. Spafford purchased the dip at a Port Townsend

As the Associated Press reported today, Marler Clark has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Suzie and and Hector Lapuyade of Redwood City against the owners of Viva Mexico, a local restaurant shut down after the area’s worst food poisoning outbreak in years.

The enchilada meal the Lapuyade family ate Oct. 21 led to days

A piece of legislation called the California Safe Schools Lunch Act (AB 1988) was recently passed by the State Assembly and now awaits action by the State Senate. Unfortunately, its positive-sounding title might not satisfy the State’s own truth-in-labeling laws. The Bill’s passage and the passage of similar laws around the country could put school children at greater risk, not less, from the dangers of foodborne illness.

As originally drafted, the Bill restricted the State’s Department of Education from ordering irradiated ground beef from the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, an option that school districts have available for the first time in 2004. In its present form, it makes this additional food safety measure more difficult and expensive, at a time local school districts are financially strained. In some cities, like San Francisco, Berkeley and Washington, DC, local school boards have succumbed to pressure from irradiation opponents and voted outright bans on serving irradiated foods in cafeterias.

The problem is this: an estimated 73,000 people, many children, get E. coli infection every year and 61 die from it. The GAO found that between 1990 and 1999, 195 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses occurred in our schools, sickening thousands of children. I currently represent children who were made ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating contaminated lettuce served at Eastern Washington University, a school in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and schools in San Diego and Orange Counties. In the past, I represented children made ill after eating contaminated ground beef in Washington state and Georgia. The list goes on, and E. coli is not the only pathogen making our children sick.


Continue Reading Irradiating Foods – One More Step to Preventing Illness in Our Schools