I posted a few days ago about Chelsey Macey who was suing Mission Organics, Natural Selection Foods & Dole Foods over E. Coli contaminated spinach which caused her to become deathly ill and later develop life altering Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Well the lawsuit is now settled out of court with the amount awarded to her sealed, so we don’t know exactly how much she was given, but the jury was already about to award $5 million in damages & had yet to decide on the award for pain & suffering. One would probably reason then that the the settlement was for over $5 million.A good thing about this lawsuit is that it’s brought more publicity to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Also it’s good that it’s holding big corporations responsible for the damage they may have done due to lax safety. However it also brings up concerns regarding a person’s susceptibilities to an illness and what can be done to prevent that person from becoming ill. Not everyone who became ill developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome, some people probably ate the spinach and had no illness at all. Food poisoning can be a tricky thing because our bodies will respond to different pathogens in different ways. Also in some cases you can do everything and sometimes contamination can happen, without intention or purposeful negligence. However, if a company was knowingly doing something that raised the likelihood of contamination, then yes they should be held accountable. In some cases though you might have just as much chance getting E. Coli from a local dirty burger joint as you do from baby spinach, it’s just the difference is the local burger joint would not have $5+ million dollars to pay in a settlement. This lawsuit seems to be a case of a semi-perfect storm because of the timing between her illness with E. Coli, the fact that the companies involved admitted fault regarding the contamination of E. Coli & the onset of her Irritable Bowel Syndrome shortly after surviving the bought of E.Coli. The fact is many people do not know what caused their Irritable Bowel Syndrome & even in cases where food poisoning may have been a factor, it can be hard to trace back and prove.
One personal note of mine: I don’t eat those premix salads or shrink wrapped veggies because I always noticed every few months there would be a notice up saying ‘such and such batch was contaminated with salmonella/e.coli’. Always put me off how often this seemed to occur. I’ll super wash and chop up my own lettuce and/or spinach thank you very much.