Food Safety Lawyer Again Calls for Country of Origin Labeling for Fruits


SEATTLE, WA -- In the last week, over fifty cases of Salmonella poisoning have been associated with Susie brand cantaloupe in California, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The I. Kunik Company of McAllen, Texas, the importer of the Mexican grown cantaloupe, issued a recall of the Salmonella Poona-tainted cantaloupes because of their association with outbreaks of foodborne illness throughout the United States and Canada.

Less than one year ago, the FDA issued a press release warning consumers about Viva Brand imported cantaloupe. The FDA advised consumers of an outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to cantaloupe imported to the U.S. by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Arizona.

According to William Marler, of the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark, just last week two lawsuits were settled from that outbreak. They were the wrongful death case of 78-year old Florence Dodds and the personal injury case of fifteen month old Nathan Eget - who both consumed the Salmonella-tainted cantaloupe.

Mr. Marler again called for imported fresh fruits to require a county of origin label. "People have a right to know that the cantaloupes they're buying at their local markets were likely just picked and shipped from the fields in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or Nicaragua. It is no wonder people are getting sick. Health and safety is taking a back seat to free trade."

Marler, whose Seattle, Washington, law firm, Marler Clark, has represented thousands of victims of food-borne illness since the 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Jack in the Box, expressed little surprise that the imported fruit is the most likely culprit in this latest outbreak of Salmonella. "Relaxed barriers to imported food may be great for free trade, but we must remember that this same system is also shipping fresh fruits and vegetables around the globe that may be contaminated with deadly bacteria, like Salmonella."

Marler added, "If consumers are made aware that their food is coming from countries with third world health and safety concerns, they are more likely to clean and prepare food items properly."

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Background: Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of all food-borne illnesses. Marler Clark has settled several Salmonella and Hepatitis A actions for over $1 million. The partners at Marler Clark also speak frequently on a variety of food safety issues.

More about the Sun Orchard orange juice Salmonella outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.