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Orchid Island Orange Juice Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2005)

In May and June of 2005, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) began investigating a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak among 11 Michigan residents who had cultured positive for an indistinguishable strain of Salmonella through pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis.  Interviews with case patients indicated that all had consumed store brand orange juice from 1 of 2 grocery chains in Michigan in the week before becoming ill.  Health investigators at the MDCH and the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) conducted a product trace-back and learned that both store brands were made by Orchid Island Juice Company of Florida. 

Further investigation led to the identification of case patients with indistinguishable PFGE patterns in Ohio and Massachusetts, and on July 8, 2005 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking unpasteurized orange juice products distributed under a variety of brand names by Orchid Island Juice Company.  Fifteen ill cases had been directly linked to the product and at least 16 other states had reported cases of Salmonella Typhimurium infection that matched the outbreak strain. 

On July 15, 2005 FDA announced that the Orchid Island Juice Company was voluntarily recalling all unpasteurized orange juice with a code date of 7/25/05 or earlier and all unpasteurized frozen orange juice with expiration codes of 04-25-2007 through 07-08-2007 because of potential contamination with Salmonella.  The product had been distributed to at least 30 states and 3 countries internationally.  Case-patients ranged in age from 17 months to 77 years.

The FDA collected several samples of the orange juice from the suspect time period, and isolated not only Salmonella Typhimurium from product, but also Salmonella Saintpaul. 

Marler Clark represented victims of the Orchid Island orange juice Salmonella outbreak in claims against the company.  The claims were resolved in 2006.

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