Taylor Farms, Maker of Cyclospora-Tainted Salad Mix, Has Issued Huge Number of Voluntary Recalls in Past Years
Taylor Farms, the company that produced salad mix tainted with cyclospora that was then sold at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants across the US, has a history of voluntary product recalls for potentially tainted products in the last three years.
The most recent recall, related to the cyclospora outbreak that has spread to 22 states and sickened hundreds of people, is the company’s 4th this year alone. According to the FDA, Taylor Farms issued three recalls in 2012, and three in 2011, as well.
The chief executive for Taylor Farms, Bruce Taylor, says that the number of recalls is related to the massive size of his company. “Just if you do the sheer math, our recalls relative to our size are fewer than anybody else,” Mr. Taylor said.
He added that the most recent recall was the only one related to any sort of health issue. Most of their past recalls stemmed from undeclared allergens like peanuts, not from pathogens like cyclospora.
Since June of this year, 617 cases of cyclospora infection have been reported, with 257 of those cases coming from Texas alone. However, more people than that could have been affected, as patients only go to see their doctors or to the emergency room if symptoms last for a long time, or are severe.
“Unless the symptoms are bad enough, we probably would not see them in the ER or the hospital setting,” Palestine Regional Medical Center Chief Clinical Officer Christi Watkins said in an earlier interview.
“Illnesses that occurred after July 16, 2013, might not yet have been reported because of the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported,” according to the CDC’s website. “This could take up to five to six weeks.”
Food safety experts said the number was somewhat higher than they would expect, even given Taylor’s size. “While produce companies have by far the most recalls among food companies in general, I’d say one every 12 to 18 months is more the standard,” said Gene Grabowski, a consultant who assists companies in dealing with the public and the media over food recalls.
“Although the investigation of cases in 2013 is ongoing, available evidence suggests that not all of the cases of cyclosporiasis in the various states are directly related to each other,” the C.D.C. said.
No deaths have yet been recorded due to the cyclospora outbreak, but some people are serving the company with personal injury lawsuits.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Related to Cyclospora Infection
Two people have filed personal injury lawsuits against Darden Corporation and Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc for contracting cyclospora after eating at Olive Gardens in Iowa. The two plaintiffs are seeking damages for mental and physical injuries caused by the disease.
The two federal lawsuits hit court records days after the FDA announced that cyclospora-laden salad mix was sold at Olive Garden and Red Lobster. The FDA said that the salad mixes originated out of Taylor Farms de Mexico, which supplied salad mixes to Iowa and Nebraska.
The first lawsuit is from Kelly Kunc, of Hiawatha, IA, and the second is from Joyce Nendza of Nebraska. Both women ate at local Olive Gardens, where they contracted cyclospora and became ill a few weeks later. Both suffered badly enough that they will need continuing medical attention, and have lost wages due to long-lasting illness.
The personal injury lawsuits also allege that Darden Corporation, which owns both Olive Garden and Red Lobster, along with Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc, failed to comply with state and federal regulations which are intended to ensure the safety of food products.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Suits, Including from the Cyclospora Outbreak
The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm keep a close watch on recalls of dangerous and defective products in the US. We aim to protect our clients’ health and safety, and hold manufacturers to the highest possible standard of safety. Product recalls are especially important because defective drugs, medical devices, food, and toys can seriously injure or even kill consumers. If you or a loved one have experienced severe, life-limiting side effects from a defective food, product, or drug, such as foods involved in the cyclospora outbreak, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury case. The Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800