Friday, September 22, 2006

E. coli Spinach Lawsuits Filed


Although I sat in a products liability law class over 25 years ago, I continue to be interested in the subject. We better all be interested too judging from recent E. coli in bagged spinach cases.

From FindLaw: “To date, 131 cases of illness due to E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 20 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), 66 hospitalizations, and one death. Illnesses continue to be reported to CDC.”

Lawsuits have been filed in at least three states: Wisconsin, Oregon and Utah. Plaintiffs are suing Natural Selection Foods and one includes Dole. At least two cases involved hospitalization. In one case, parents ended up with two seriously ill children in the hospital. Strict liability, breach of warranty and negligence are the causes of action.

It’s something to ponder this weekend as you do your grocery shopping. Just how safe is our food supply and why are we seeing more of these “outbreaks?” Annys Shin writes in this morning's Washington Post about the food safety gap. We have a lot more USDA inspectors working the meat and poultry industries, but the FDA is woefully shorthanded on inspectors for the rest of our food. It's been a largely voluntary arrangement for quite some time. Forgive me for being so mistrustful, but anything we consume should be more closely inspected. Find out what caused the E. coli outbreak, set some new regulations and hire more inspectors to monitor the industry.

One more thing. Parents may never tell their kids to “eat your spinach” again.

2 comments:

Rob said...

Do you still eat spinach?  Here
is a poll

Sheila said...

Rob, I'd eat fresh if it was grown locally. But I feel safe enough with frozen. This whole situation is troubling since it indicates a problem for all of our produce.