Food Safety Attorney William Marler Calls on CDC and FDA to name Grower and Retailers involved in Deadly Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreak

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Nationally known attorney and expert on foodborne illness cases says government agencies should release the name of the farm where Salmonella-contaminated cantaloupes were grown and the names wholesalers, distributors and retailers who sold the cantaloupes in the interest of public health.

Bill Marler, foodborne illness ttorney and food safety advocate.

Bill Marler, Attorney and Food Safety Advocate

By keeping these companies’ names secret, the CDC and FDA are doing the public a disservice by quashing important data that could help consumers make informed decisions about what to eat and where to shop.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium had been reported from 20 states linked to Indiana-grown cantaloupe. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2). 31 ill persons have been hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported in Kentucky.

According to the CDC and FDA, an unnamed farm in southwestern Indiana has contacted its distributors, which reach outside Indiana into other states, and is withdrawing its cantaloupes from the market. The farm has agreed to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. As of last night, the CDC and FDA had not named any retail outlets that sold the Salmonella-contaminated cantaloupes. This morning, however, Walmart voluntarily began recalling cantaloupes grown in southwest Indiana.

“At this point, with 141 sick and at least 2 dead, the public has an absolute right to know where the cantaloupe was grown and where is was sold. There is simply no excuse that this information is not made available,” said foodborne illness attorney and food safety advocate William Marler. “If the goal of public health is to saves lives, protect people, and save business money through prevention, how does trying to keep the public in the dark accomplish any of these objectives?”

“By keeping these companies’ names secret, the CDC and FDA may be trying to protect businesses, but are ultimately doing the public a disservice by quashing important data that could otherwise help consumers make informed decisions about what to eat and where to shop,” Marler continued.

Marler Clark has litigated on behalf of dozens of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks traced to cantaloupes. The firm brought its first lawsuit against a cantaloupe producer in 2001, and has since represented victims of cantaloupe-related outbreaks against such companies as Del Monte and Jensen Farms.* The law firm is the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness. The firm’s attorneys have unmatched experience and have recovered over $600,000,000 for food poisoning victims and their families.

For more information or to speak to an attorney, contact Suzanne Schreck at sschreck(at)marlerclark(dot)com or 1-206-346-1878.

  •     Del Monte Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit - Nationwide Outbreak (2011) (U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Case No. 11-cv-01138-REB-BNB)
  •     Viva Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit - West Coast Outbreak (2001) (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. EDCV 01-00808-VAP(SGLx))
  •     Jensen Farms Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide Outbreak (2011) (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, Case No. 11-04280-CV-W-FJG)

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