Dole and Natural Selections Spinach E. coli LawsuitsOn September 14, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a nationwide E. coli O157:H7outbreak had been associated with the consumption of baby spinach. Multiple spinach recalls ensued, but ultimately only Dole baby spinach products were associated with illness. On September 19, 2006, FDA announced that all spinach implicated in the outbreak had been traced back to a processing facility operated by Natural Selection Foods of San Juan Bautista, California, a company located in the Salinas Valley.
As of October 12, 2006, FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 205 E. coli illnesses associated with the outbreak, including thirty-one cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, 104 hospitalizations, and four deaths. Victims of the E. coli outbreak were identified in 26 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wisconsin was the state hardest-hit in the outbreak, with 49 confirmed cases. Canada reported one confirmed case.
A joint traceback by FDA and the State of California revealed that four spinach fields were the possible source of the E. coli contamination. The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from cattle fields near the implicated spinach fields, and from a wild boar that was killed in one of the fields. The investigation into how the outbreak originated is ongoing.
The E. coli lawyers at Marler Clark represented 93 victims of the E. coli outbreak, and filed lawsuits on behalf of individuals from Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, New York, Utah, and Wisconsin. In the spring of 2007 Marler Clark resolved cases on behalf of three families whose elderly family members died after eating Dole spinach. The remaining cases, including those of more than 30 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, were resolved in 2008 and 2009.
More about the Dole and Natural Selections E. coli outbreak can be found on the Marler Clark-sponsored site about E. coli.