“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.”