mousetrap

The Asian Chopped Salad kit prepared by Taylor Farms of Salinas, California, and delivered for retail sale to a Sam’s Club in Lynchburg, Virginia, says it’s for those who love “flavors of the East.”

“After trying our savoy and green cabbage, carrots, celery, and green onion all finished with toasted slivered almonds, crisp wonton noodles, and tangy yet sweet sesame ginger dressing, you’ll think you’re at your favorite Asian restaurant!” the company boasts.

But a new consumer-product-contamination lawsuit brought against the company alleges not only was a chopped-up mouse carcass found in one of the salads advertised as “WASHED & READY-TO-ENJOY!” but the company has snubbed concerns over the contamination. And for that the lawsuit seeks punitive damages amounting to $350,000.

The lawsuit was filed by Mark Bold of Relevant Law in Lynchburg, Virginia, on behalf of family members James “Matt” Barber, Sarah Barber and Jared Barber.

Sarah Barber, who lived in Lynchburg at the time of the incident last October, told WND what happened.

She purchased a couple bags of the Asian Chopped for dinner at home, tossed the ingredients in a bowl, added salad dressing and served it up.

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“I didn’t know until the end … when I realized it was in there. I was so shocked, shocked and sick. Freaking,” she said.

“I haven’t been able to eat salad since. I can’t do it. I can’t eat salad. And I won’t be buying any bagged salad again.”

Although the three who brought the current case apparently suffered no diseases – mice carry a wide range of infections, including plague – she worries about others.

“That’s the main thing. We don’t want this to keep happening,” she said.

Her brother-in-law, Jared, visited a doctor because he was feeling so sick for days.

She said the discovery of the mutilated rodent on her plate was just the first trauma. Next was the company’s response: a “sorry-this-happened” statement and nothing more.

“We didn’t hear anything at all for six months,” she said. “I did not feel the problem there was addressed at all. That’s really the crux of it. We feel traumatized by the situation.”

This case goes beyond the ordinary bad product claim into allegations of “willful and wanton” negligence both because of the company’s refusal to deal with the case and its long history of contamination incidents.

“This is not an anomaly,” Bold told WND. “Taylor Farms has had a history [of problems and even recalls].”

He characterized the company’s response as “a total disregard, flippant, [they] shrugged it off,” he said.

Taylor Farms and Sam’s Club officials declined to respond to WND requests for comment.

“That’s been their history with these types of matters,” Bold said. “We need to find … how many complaints of foreign objects [there have been.] Just how clean are these facilities.”

Bold said that when American consumers are finding chopped up rodents on their plates, something is very wrong.

“We expect that they take it seriously and they never have,” he said, meaning the carelessness of allowing mouse parts in a salad sold for human consumption are more than just an accident.

That’s “willful disregard,” he charged.

Mouse remnants found in salad

Mouse remnants found in salad

It was just days ago that Fresh Express recalled its Organic Marketside Spring Mix salads after a dead bat was found in the product.

The law firm explained that Sarah Barber prepared the Taylor Farms mix without noticing the decapitated mouse, its internal organs and several body parts.

“After the three sat down for dinner, and nearly over half way through the salad, Mrs. Barber noticed something on her plate mixed within the salad that looked like a small reddish jelly-like object, an item that was clearly not part of the salad mix.

“Looking more carefully, she noticed another dark grey hairy object and immediately notified her husband who suggested it looked like part of a mouse. Mrs. Barber’s husband searched through the remaining salad, discovering more fragments, and found the remains of a mouse. The entire family was immediately horrified and traumatized by the incident, becoming nauseated and seriously ill and continue to have a serious physical and psychological food aversion to salads,” the statement explains.

Bold said Taylor Farms “has a disturbing history of repetitive examples of negligently allowing life-threatening diseases and rodents into their products.”

“We reject their argument that consumers should periodically expect to have rodents, E coli, or listeria as part of their meals,” he said. “With today’s technology, Taylor Farms has absolutely no excuse in not preventing shredded mice from landing on the plates of hungry families.”

He said Taylor Farms has “basically given our clients the middle finger.”

The law firm cited a 2013 report by the New York Times about an illness outbreak involving hundreds of people and said Taylor Farms “had an unusual number of voluntary recalls for potentially tainted products.”

The law firm also cited a September 2012 report of an Orlando woman finding a mouse in a bag of Taylor Farms salad, recalls by the company over E coli in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and a 2016 salmonella outbreak from a Taylor Farms Organic Kale product.

The law firm noted that Taylor Farms didn’t issued a recall then, because the federal law didn’t require it.

At Food Safety News at that time, Douglas Powell, formerly of Kansas State’s pathobiology department, said: “The situation fits the pattern. There’s a question of public health. I don’t care that the product’s not on shelves anymore. The public has a right and need to know about these incidents.”

Just about the same time the Barbers were serving up mouse, the law firm said, Taylor Farms also recalled vegetable trays over potential listeria and turkey products due to incorrect labeling.

“Diseases and rodents are not mutually exclusive and separate from each other,” Bold said. “Many of these diseases can come from the feces, urine and bodily fluids of animals, let alone whole mice, which are clearly making their way into our food supply.”

Sam’s Club, and parent Walmart, were included in the suit, he said, because retailers have a responsibility to ensure the products they sell are safe.

Nutritious food. Safe drinking water. Essential equipment to protect you and your family. Advanced tactical gear to safeguard electronics from an EMP attack or nuclear blast. The WND Superstore has you covered when it comes to preparedness. Pick up the perfect gift for the “prepper” in your life this Christmas. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Stock up on the survival gear you and your family will need in an emergency. It’s all here in the WND Superstore.

 

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