Contact Us

Ecoli Infection
*    Denotes required field.

   * First Name 

   * Last Name 

   * Email 


Cell Phone 

Street Address 

Zip Code 



Have you been diagnosed with E. Coli poisoning?

Please describe ecoli infection:

When did ecoli infection occur?

Please describe illness resulting from ecoli infection:

Were you able to determine the food responsible for your illness?

For verification purposes, please answer the below question:

No Yes, I agree to the Parker Waichman LLP disclaimers. Click here to review.

Yes, I would like to receive the Parker Waichman LLP monthly newsletter, InjuryAlert.

please do not fill out the field below.

E. Coli Threat to Leafy Greens Demands More Safety Regulations, Research

Jan 7, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
Ecoli Threat Leafy Greens

Spinach E. Coli Highlighted The Food Borne Pathogen Out Of Fresh Produce

Several years ago, the Dole Fresh Bagged Spinach E. coli outbreak highlighted the difficulty of keeping the food borne pathogen out of fresh produce.    Since then, the growers of leafy greens in California have taken steps to keep their crops safe from E. coli contamination.   But despite the danger E. coli can present to consumers,  federal regulators have, for the most part, allowed growers  to self-regulate.   Many question whether or not  steps the industry voluntarily takes will be enough to prevent another leafy green E. coli outbreak in the future.

In September 2006, bagged fresh baby spinach sold by the Dole Food Company was linked to an E. coli outbreak that was blamed for the deaths of three people and illness in 200 others. Health officials traced the source of that E. coli contamination to a cattle ranch adjacent to the California field where the spinach was grown. It is believed that runoff from the ranch that was contaminated with cattle feces made its way into the spinach field.  Since then, several other recalls of E. coli contaminated lettuce and other greens have made headlines.

Growers And Processors Formed A Safety Group

Recently growers and processors in California’s Central Valley formed a safety group, and 118 companies have signed on to the California Leafy Green Handler Marketing Agreement. Safety precautions covered by the agreement include testing the water supply monthly for E. coli and keeping animals off farmland.  But signing onto that agreement is strictly voluntary, although once growers do sign on, they are legally bound to adhere to the standards. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering implementing a national version of those industry-developed standards that followed the E. coli outbreak and now govern California farmers and leafy green handlers.  While the USDA is weighing both voluntary and mandatory standards, it has been reported that the agency favors a voluntary program that allows flexibility.

But many consumer advocates are saying that whether they are voluntary or mandatory, the new leafy green standards are inadequate.  While the new standards could reduce the risk of runoff from cattle pastures contaminating fields with E. coli, they do little to address the risk of E. coli from deer, pigs, birds, rodents and garden slugs.   What’s worse, very little research is being done to determine how likely these other potential E. coli sources might be to contaminate fields. Research is needed to perform quantitative risk assessments, to prioritize the actual risks and to devote the necessary resources to minimize or eliminate them.  While some of this work is being done -- The Center for Produce Safety at the  University of California  Davis was recently formed with industry and government money to better understand E. coli risks – much more research in this area is needed.

Need Legal Help Regarding E. Coli Outbreak?

The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online contact form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).


Related articles Other articles
Parker Waichman Accolades And Reviews Best Lawyers Find Us On Avvo