Tag Archives pathogen

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a petition from the National Chicken Council seeking to waive the line speed limit of 140 birds per minute in processing plants. FSIS told the council that processors of young chicken are permitted to run at higher speeds if they were one of 20 participants in a New Poultry Inspection System pilot study operating under a Salmonella Initiative Program (SIP) waiver. During the pilot program, participants demonstrated that they could maintain process control at line speeds up to 175 birds per minute and were capable of "consistently producing safe, wholesome and unadulterated product" and "meeting pathogen reduction and other performance standards.” The agency's letter indicated that it would consider granting additional SIP waivers but would not grant waivers that would allow processors to operate without maximum line speeds.

A website that allows individuals to report food poisoning incidents may help health officials identify outbreaks of foodborne illness, according to NPR. Developed by Patrick Quade, iwaspoisoned.com has reportedly handled more than 75,000 user posts from 46 states and 90 countries since its launch. After a cluster of reports, the website notifies local health officials; the site has correctly identified the source of four outbreaks before health officials did. Officials reportedly praise the site’s ability to identify norovirus outbreaks, which are often underreported. Officials have previously used Yelp to curate reports of foodborne illness.

A father has filed a lawsuit alleging that eating Dole Food Co.'s ready-to-eat salad greens caused his son to develop Listeria meningitis, leaving the son with long-term impairment of motor, cognitive and communication skills. Robinson v. Dole Food Co., No. 17-13644 (E.D. Mich., filed November 8, 2017). The complaint alleges that the son was served packaged salads at his group-care facility and developed meningitis, which the Centers for Disease Control and the Michigan Department of Community Health apparently concluded was caused by the same strain of Listeria that infected 30 people in a 2015-2016 outbreak linked to Dole salad greens. The complaint further alleges that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an inspection of Dole’s Springfield, Illinois, facility where the bagged salads were produced and concluded that the facility violated a number of food-safety rules, including failing to test for Listeria on food contact surfaces and failing to notify FDA…

Scotland’s Crown Office reportedly will not prosecute Errington Cheese for the death of a three-year-old linked to an outbreak of E. coli in 2016. A March 2017 Health Protection Scotland report apparently found Errington’s unpasteurized Dunsyre Blue cheese to be the “likely” source of the outbreak and the cause of the child’s death. The Crown Office reportedly concluded that the child died from complications of an E. coli infection, but it decided not to pursue criminal action. After the outbreak, a local council government banned the sale of some of Errington’s artisanal sheep’s-milk cheese, and the company reportedly plans to challenge the ban in early 2018.

A New Jersey man has filed a lawsuit against a produce supplier for its role in a Salmonella Kiambu outbreak in 12 states linked to Mexican papayas that has sickened 47 people and reportedly caused one death. Colon v. Grande Produce, No. 17-5458 (D.N.J., filed July 26, 2017). The plaintiff alleges that he fell ill in June 2017 after consuming a papaya imported by Grande Produce and was later diagnosed with Salmonella-induced illness. Claiming strict product liability, negligence and breach of warranties, the plaintiff seeks damages and attorney’s fees. On July 26, Grande Produce announced it had issued a limited recall of Caribeña Maradol papayas distributed between July 10- 19, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning consumers to avoid all Mexican Maradol papayas regardless of the source. An FDA recall notice stated, “The FDA notes that there are…

Two consumers have filed lawsuits alleging they contracted norovirus after eating at one of Chipotle Mexican Grill’s locations. Hogan v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, No. 109599 (Va. Cir. Ct., Loudoun Cty., filed July 26, 2017); Moore v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, No. 109660 (Va. Cir. Ct., Loudoun Cty., filed July 26, 2017). Both complaints allege negligence and breach of implied warranties, and each plaintiff seeks $74,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. The Loudoun County Health Department has identified more than 135 people who became ill after eating at Chipotle’s Sterling, Virginia, restaurant between July 13-16, 2017, and confirmed that two people tested positive for the same strain of norovirus. On July 19, federal prosecutors served Chipotle with a new subpoena seeking details about the outbreak. In 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California began a criminal investigation into a series of norovirus, E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks traced…

A California man has filed a legal malpractice claim against lawyers who allegedly failed to represent him adequately in his suit against fruit processor Townsend Farms, in which he claimed he contracted hepatitis A after eating the company’s Organic Antioxidant Blend. Durrell v. Taylor, Sullivan & Mondorf, No. BC667419 (Cal. Sup. Ct., Los Angeles Cty., filed July 6, 2017). In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it was working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local officials to investigate a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A and confirmed that 162 people had become ill after eating the product. In 2014, Durrell sued Townsend Farms in Yolo County, California, and his case was later consolidated with others in Los Angeles County. The complaint alleges that his attorney failed to respond to discovery requests or motions to compel, resulting in the levy of…

Food & Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group, has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service over the agencies’ denial of the group’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests asking for the names of companies that opted to participate in the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., No. 17­-1133 (D.D.C., filed June 9, 2017). USDA implemented the optional NPIS in an effort to reduce rates of foodborne illness attributable to chicken and turkey contaminated with Salmonella and Campylobacter. Food & Water Watch requested the identities of the companies that chose to participate in NPIS, but their FOIA requests were denied on the grounds that “the responsive records consist solely of confidential future business plans.” Alleging violations of FOIA, the plaintiff is seeking an order for disclosure of the requested records and attorney’s…

A Colorado federal court has dismissed a shareholder derivative action against Chipotle alleging the company’s officers and directors of food­-safety oversight failed to take action to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness. Gubricky v. Ells, No. 16­-2011 (D. Colo., order entered June 7, 2017). The plaintiff claimed the defendants had failed to implement and enforce effective food-safety procedures, monitor compliance with food-safety laws or commit necessary resources to store audits and risk assessment after a series of foodborne­ illness outbreaks. The complaint further alleged that the board failed to take action or offer sick employees paid leave until 2015, seven years after the outbreaks began. In a shareholder derivative suit, plaintiffs must plead “with particularity” why demanding the corporate board to take corrective action would be futile, the court said, but the plaintiff failed to plead facts specific to each director establishing a “substantial likelihood of personal liability.” The plaintiff must…

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari in a six-­state coalition's attempt to block enforcement of a California law requiring egg­-production facilities to provide hens enough space to extend their limbs and turn around. Missouri v. Becerra, No. 16­-1015 (U.S., denial of certiorari entered May 30, 2017). The rule affects private egg producers within each state, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that this interest did not convey standing upon the states. Additional details on the circuit court's decision appear in Issue 623 of this Update. The high court also denied certiorari to Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son Peter, who sought to appeal the prison sentences they received for their roles in a 2010 Salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands across the United States. DeCoster v. United States, No. 16-­877 (U.S., denial of certiorari entered May 18, 2017). The men, former executives of Quality Egg…

Close