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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Imported Cucumbers Linked to Salmonella Outbreak while FDA Faces Inspection Cuts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that a multi-state Salmonella outbreak was likely caused by the consumption of cucumbers imported from Mexico.  The announcement came one day after USA Today reporter Liz Szabo reported that the FDA would be conducting 18% fewer food inspections this year due to a loss of funding and that “even before the sequester, the FDA was able to inspect less than 2% of all food imports.”

According to the CDC, at least 73 people fell ill with Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections between January and April of this year after eating cucumbers.  On April 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed two Mexican import firms on an “import alert”, stating that cucumbers from the farms would be denied admission into the U.S. unless the suppliers were able to prove the produce was free of Salmonella.

“People started falling ill with Salmonella infections before the Sequester, so there’s no question that these cucumbers made it into our food supply even before cuts to food inspection,” said attorney William Marler, the nation’s leading lawyer representing victims of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella.

“When the funding cuts are in full effect, will we see even more outbreaks from both imported and home-grown food?  I shudder at the thought of what these cuts will truly mean in terms of the safety of our food supply,” Marler added.

According to the Outbreak Database, this is the 8th foodborne illness believed to have been caused by cucumbers or pickles.

Marler noted that the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP), which used to conduct 80% of all federal produce testing for pathogenic bacteria, officially shut down on December 31, 2012.  “Would MDP have discovered contamination on cucumbers before they got to market?”  Marler continued, “We may never know—and we may think of cucumbers as fairly benign since they’re not linked to food safety problems as often as leafy greens or melons, but this outbreak demonstrates that all fresh produce poses a food safety threat and cuts to federal programs may already be having an impact.”

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.