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Marler Clark Calls on FDA to Ban Sale of Unpasteurized Juices.

SEATTLE -- The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on July 8, that Orchid Island Juice Co. of Fort Pierce, Florida was recalling unpasteurized orange juice after fifteen cases of Salmonella Typhimurium were traced to consumption of Orchid Island orange juice. In light of the FDA's recall announcement, Seattle attorney William Marler of Marler Clark has called again on the FDA to completely ban the sale of all unpasteurized juices.

In 1998, the FDA required that juice makers label unpasteurized juices with the statement, "WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria which can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems." But although at least three large Salmonella outbreaks have been traced to contaminated juice products since 1999(1), the FDA does not require juice companies to pasteurize juice, and no longer requires producers of unpasteurized juice to provide warning labels on their juice products.

"It is simply outrageous that after all we've learned about the importance of pasteurizing fruit juice, especially after the Odwalla and Sun Orchard outbreaks, we still have companies selling unpasteurized juices without warnings, the government allowing it, and people getting sick because of it," said Marler. "Why the FDA would allow a company to produce an unpasteurized product and allow no warning label is beyond me."

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting, and usually begin within 6 to 72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria.

"I've represented thousands of victims of Salmonella outbreaks," Marler continued. "Infections are not pretty. These people suffer from intense abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and severe nausea and vomiting. These 15 people could be perfectly healthy had the juice they were sold been pasteurized."

About Marler Clark, LLP PS

The attorneys at Marler Clark, (www.marlerclark.com), have extensive experience representing victims of Salmonella poisoning. The firm has successfully represented victims of Salmonella related to contaminated sprouts, cantaloupe, cereal, orange juice, and other foods. Marler Clark has represented over 1,500 victims of foodborne illness infections since William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box in 1993. Mr. Marler represented most of the ill victims of the Odwalla Apple Juice E. coli outbreak in 1996 and the Sun Orchard Salmonella Orange Juice outbreak in 1999. For more information on Salmonella cases see http://www.marlerclark.com/news-salmonella.htm, www.salmonellalitigation.com and www.salmonellablog.com.

(1)Prior Salmonella Outbreaks in Orange Juice

February, 1999: Salmonella enterica -- In Adelaide, Australia there were approximately 500 laboratory confirmed cases of Salmonella infection from fresh, chilled, unpasteurized orange juice. No deaths occurred. The Knispel Fruit Juice Pty Ltd's orange juice called "Nippy's" was found to be the cause of the outbreak (Steene, 1999). Oranges from a fresh fruit packing house were the source of the contamination (Parish, 2000).

June 1999: Salmonella Muenchen -- In the summer of 1999, over 400 people became infected and one died as a result of drinking either frozen or fresh unpasteurized orange juice contaminated with Salmonella Muenchen. The product was sold by the bottle and in bulk to restaurants, hotels and other food establishments. Thus, 15 US states were involved and 2 Canadian provinces. The juice was produced by Sun Orchard Inc. in Tempe, Arizona and was labeled under a number of different brand names (Sun Orchard, Aloha, Zupan, etc.) (Steinberg, 1999). The causative organism was isolated from samples of the packaged raw juice as well as from storage vats within the packaging facility. Three other Salmonella strains were also isolated from the product at the plant in Tempe, Arizona. Import of Mexican orange juice that contained melted ice is the suspected source of contamination. This was the largest Salmonella outbreak associated with unpasteurized orange juice. JAMA. 1999; 282:726-728.

April 2000: Salmonella enteritidis -- Seventy-four confirmed cases of Salmonellosis were reported in 7 US states. No deaths occurred. California Day-Fresh Foods, who sells the unpasteurized juice as "Naked Juice" and "Ferraro's", was implicated in the outbreak. The source of contamination is unknown. Source: Press Release, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, April 20, 2000.
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