CDC links romaine to St. Louis E. coli outbreak

12/08/2011 02:06:00 AM
Coral Beach

“Although no tests were positive for E. coli, the CDC believes romaine lettuce consumed between Oct. 5 and 24 was the contaminant,” according to the retailer’s website. ”The outbreak was tracked back to a single lot of romaine lettuce harvested by a single farm.”

According to the CDC, a majority of the sick people ate lettuce that could be “statistically linked” to nine Chain A stores.

“Absent any food safety violations or positive tests results, the CDC declined to name the grocer or the supplier,” according to the Schnucks’ statement. “However, leaders of Schnuck Markets, Inc. are confirming that Schnucks is the entity referred to by the CDC as ‘grocery store Chain A,’ but for the same reasons provided by the CDC, Schnucks declined to name the supplier.”

Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in foodborne illness cases, said he plans to file a lawsuit against Schnucks and other companies in the distribution chain within days on behalf of a St. Louis woman who developed kidney disease, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The requirements for proving a case in civil litigation are not as stringent as what the CDC or FDA might need to confirm the source of an illness, according to the lawyer.

“Most of the time you are never able to trace it back to a farm because by the time people are eating the lettuce, (it) has already been pulled out of the field,” Marler said. “It’s still the responsibility of the chain of distribution for the food that they served the people. Those entities are still legally responsible for the injuries to their customers.”

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December, 08, 2011 at 12:32 PM

buy-eat-die, don't ask stupid questions. Fine no one should eat or shop at a store that doesn't even tell where the stuff came from.

C.W. Karney    
Visalia, CA  |  December, 08, 2011 at 01:01 PM

Just knowing where the product came from does not mean the product is pathogen free. When will the FDA, USDA wake up and protect the customer. There is a cost effective food safety process that will reduce and eliminate the food -borne ilness issues. It is time the industry, the government faced reality. This process can and will reduce these food illness out breaks. This cost effective process can be applied at the cooling process at the time of shipment. All the trade agencys & Governmental Agencys just give the the issues lip service and no action. We did not have these issues when the supply of fresh fruits & vegetable for Viet Nam face the the same issues of today with no food-borne illness after 21 day boat ride.

watsonville  |  December, 12, 2011 at 03:52 PM

seems to me there have been more instances reported of food borne illness - listeria, e.coli, salmonella - since the implementation of the LGMA than before. More instances since all the pressure on tracability and food safety. Are these programs effective and can the huge expense imposed on the growers be justified? BUY ORGANIC!! I can't remember one incident been associated with organic produce.

Tulare County  |  December, 12, 2011 at 07:46 PM

Organic production and certification provide no assurance that a product is safe and free of contaminants. The have been issues of contamination and safety with organic produce.

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