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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

More Spinach Recalled Over Listeria Worries

ucm439763Superior Foods, Inc., is recalling spinach because it may have received organic spinach with the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes. Product was distributed Nationwide at Target retail stores.

Simply Balanced Organic Chopped Spinach 10-oz steam in bag DPCI # (Department, Class, Item.) 270-00-0663 UPC Code – 85239 00663
Production Date Code and Best By Code
4360SF3 through 7 J1 Best By 26/06/2016
4360SF3 through 7 J2 Best By 26/06/2016
5026SF4 through 8 J1 Best By 26/07/2016
5026SF4 through 8 J2 Best By 26/07/2016
5051SF2 through 4 J1 Best By 20/08/2016
5051SF2 through 4 J2 Best By 20/08/2016

ucm439760Twin City Foods, Inc. of Stanwood, Washington is recalling the following products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Cadia Organic Cut Spinach, 16 oz. frozen packages UPC 15369 01165 Package code: 23424 Product distributed only in California

Meijer Organics Chopped Spinach, 16 oz. frozen packages UPC 41250 02362 Package code: BEST BY FEB 2017 50415 Distributed to warehouses in MI, OH, and WI

Wild Harvest Organic Cut Leaf Spinach, 16 oz. frozen packages UPC 11535 50170 Package code: SELL BY 08.DEC.2016 L084WE, Distributed to warehouses in AZ, CA, WA Package code: SELL BY 22.JAN.2017 A225WE, Distributed to warehouses in PA and VA Package code: SELL BY 30.JAN.2017 A305WE, Distributed to warehouses in DE, ME, PA, and VA Package code: SELL BY 04.MAR.2017 C045WE, Distributed to warehouses in ME and PA

Wegmans Organic Just Picked Spinach, 12 oz. frozen packages UPC 77890 32932 Package code: BEST USED BY JAN.26.2017 50265, Distributed to warehouses in NY and PA Package code: BEST USED BY FEB.02.2017 50335, Distributed to warehouses in NY and PA

Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Raw Milk and Campylobacter – a Vile Mix

On June 6, 2008, Mari Tardiff began to experience acute diarrhea and vomiting, which eventually gave way to a searing pain in her legs. The night of June 12th, Mari went to bed after soaking her legs in hot water to get some temporary relief, and awoke to find she could not move her legs. She was admitted to the hospital, where the paralysis began to spread to the rest of her body. Despite being unable to move, she continued to feel intense pain instead of the numbness usually experienced by victims of paralysis.

Doctors eventually diagnosed Mari with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a severe complication of Campylobacter infection in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. Mari’s case was linked to those of others who had developed Campylobacter infections from drinking raw milk produced by Alexandre EcoDairy Farms, a “cow-share” program in California. Sixteen other people, including one EcoDairy worker, were also infected with Campylobacter from the unpasteurized milk.

Mari, a public health nurse who had always maintained a healthy lifestyle by eating organic foods and exercising often, had taken what turned out to be a devastating risk in eating a food she thought would be beneficial to her health.

Mari spent almost six months in the hospital and in rehabilitation facilities, where she slowly learned to breathe again without a ventilator, and began to regain some of her speech and motion. She now lives at home in her family room, which has been outfitted with the equipment she needs, such as a hospital bed, stand-up frame, and Hoyer lift. It is unclear whether she will ever walk again.

Marler Clark represented Mari and successfully resolved her case in November, 2009.

Read more about the Alexandre EcoDairy Farms Campylobacter outbreak and the litigation that followed.

Lucky Peach – Marler Profile – Attorney, Lawyer, Food Safety Advocate

marlerAttorney Bill Marler has won more than $600 million for clients since he and his partners formed Marler Clark in 1998. Marler rose to fame—or notoriety, if you’re a food producer—in 1993, when he successfully litigated a series of suits against Jack in the Box on behalf of children who contracted E. coli from eating the fast food joint’s tainted beef. Undercooked hamburger patties contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 (“the nasty form,” Marler points out) sickened more than seven hundred people in five states, killing four people and hospitalizing hundreds—mostly kids. Investigations revealed that Foodmaker, Inc., Jack in the Box’s parent company, had been warned about undercooking patties by health departments, but decided to continue the two-minute cook time for business reasons, and to maintain a better texture. Marler resolved cases for more than one hundred victims.

Bill Marler isn’t a lawyer with a focus on foodborne illnesses: he is the foodborne-illness lawyer. Marler Clark owns twenty-eight different websites, from Food Safety News to Listeria Blog. In a 2011 case involving Listeria in cantaloupe, Marler represented fifty of the sixty-six claimants. In a 2006 spinach-based E. coli outbreak, he represented 104 of 105. There are other lawyers out there who take on similar cases but, according to Marler, “there aren’t four lawyers in the world that have as much experience” in the field as the core attorneys of Marler Clark. “Twenty-two years into this,” Marler says, “I’ve taken tens of thousands of cases. Some outbreaks might have a hundred people, or some twenty. I can say I’ve been involved in every major foodborne-illness outbreak that’s occurred in the U.S. since 1993.”

See full article By Naomi Tomky March 24, 2015 with Illustration by Celeste Byers

Twin City Foods Link in Spinach Recall

JoNel Aleccia from the Seattle Times wrote: “Spinach from Stanwood recalled for listeria risk.”

Frozen organic spinach produced by a Stanwood firm has been tied to a recall of products that may be contaminated with listeria bacteria.

Wegman’s Food Markets, an East Coast grocery chain, on Monday issued a voluntary recall for about 12,500 packages of organic frozen spinach. Firm officials said Twin City Foods, of Stanwood, Snohomish County, supplied the spinach. It was sold in the frozen-food section of stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts between Jan. 27 and March 21, 2015.

Also on Monday, Amy’s Kitchen, of Petaluma, Calif., issued a voluntary recall of nearly 74,000 cases of products that may include frozen spinach potentially tainted with listeria. The products include frozen vegetable lasagna, brown rice and vegetable bowls, and stuffed pasta shell bowls. The products were distributed nationwide in the U.S. and Canada.

A person who answered the phone at Twin City Foods said it wasn’t clear that the company had supplied frozen spinach to Amy’s Kitchen. She said Twin Cities could not say what volume of product might have been contaminated with listeria and that owners were not prepared to make a statement. She declined further comment.