I am not surprised that they found cows and cow poop near spinach fields – I found the same a week ago traveling through Salinas:


From AP story of this morning:  E. coli Find Shows Difficult Mix Of Cattle, Spinach

Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer representing 93 people who got sick eating spinach and the families of two who died, said processors and packagers of greens are also responsible for ensuring their safety.

"From a victim’s perspective, Dole, Natural Selection and this farm are on the hook," Marler said. "It’s their collective responsibility to step up and deal with these claims."

This story also has a great video.

As Joshua L. Kwan reported in his San Jose Mercury News story Woman’s son sues over E. coli death, the son of an 85-year-old woman who died last year during an E. coli outbreak at a Portola Valley nursing home has sued the food service company that supplied contaminated spinach to the home.

”The wrong is that someone got sick,” said Bill Marler, an attorney for McWalter’s family. ”And it came from food that these people served,” he said about Sodexho. ”In a sense, it’s case closed.”

Keith McWalter said his mother complained of abdominal pain when he visited her Oct. 12. She was hospitalized Oct. 10, but residents weren’t warned of a possible E. coli outbreak until Oct. 13. Matsumoto said the home did not receive test results indicating an E. coli problem until Oct. 13.

On Thursday, Marler Clark filed a second E. coli lawsuit against Sodexho, Inc., the food provider for Sequoias Portola Valley retirement facility. This second lawsuit was filed by Sarah Ish, one of thirteen Sequoias residents and employees who confirmed positive with E. coli infections during the outbreak, and one of seven residents who were hospitalized for treatment of their E. coli infections. Health officials traced the outbreak to contaminated raw spinach which was served to Sequoias residents by Sodexho.

“Senior citizens are more at-risk for foodborne illness because, as we age, our immune systems weaken. Ms. Ish’s body had to fight harder to rid itself of the E. coli bacteria,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Ms. Ish continues to suffer from confusion and loss of energy as a consequence of her E. coli infection, nearly a year after she was hospitalized.”

This is the second E. coli lawsuit brought against Sodexho by Marler Clark and Keeney, Waite & Stevens. The first was brought on behalf of the family of Alice McWalter, a Sequoias resident who died as a result of her E. coli infection. “Sodexho to date has shown no interest in discussing a fair resolution to this or any of the cases, it is time to force them to be responsible,” said Marler.

“I’ve said it before, but the food industry in California was, or should have been, extremely concerned with fresh produce safety at the time of this outbreak, since an outbreak in the San Diego area had been traced to E. coli-contaminated lettuce just weeks before,” Marler concluded.

Forty-six residents and employees at the Sequoias reported symptoms of E. coli infection during the San Mateo County Health Services Agency investigation of the outbreak.

From a recent article in the San Mateo County Times:

The families of several local E. coli sufferers have contacted a Seattle-based lawyer who has collected tens of millions of dollars in settlements in food-poisoning cases. William Marler, a personal-injury attorney who has represented hundreds of E. coli, salmonella and botulism victims, said Tuesday several County families have called his office to inquire about filing lawsuits.

As the outbreak of E. coli in the Sequoias-Portola Valley retirement community went into its 19th day Tuesday, one of two sufferers who had remained hospitalized at Stanford Medical Center was released.

And the family of Alice McWalter — the 85-year-old resident who died from kidney failure related to E. coli on Sunday — began preparing for a memorial service at her beloved Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley.

As the San Mateo County Times reported, health officials are still tracking the source of the outbreak, which sickened dozens of residents and staff members at the retirement center since it was reported Oct. 9. County Health Officer Scott Morrow said Monday that “food and food handlers” were being closely scrutinized, and said a report on the cause of the outbreak should be completed within a week.