CALIFORNIA: Carrot giant sues, alleging sheep damaged crop
Posted: May 28th, 2009 - 8:55am
Grimmway Enterprises Inc. is suing Fernando and Yvonne Iturriria for $230,059.34 in damages, plus attorneys fees.
The carrot giant alleges the Iturririas allowed an "unknown number" of sheep to graze on 1.9 acres of carrots at the outset of harvest season, after which the sheep defecated on the crops, the lawsuit says.
Both sides declined to comment Wednesday.
Sheep are high-risk carriers of E. coli bacteria, so the original 1.9 acres of carrots and the adjoining 73.567 acres were destroyed to prevent food poisoning, according to the lawsuit.
"It is a legitimate concern," said Michele Jay-Russell of UC Davis' Western Institute for Food Safety and Security.
She's not connected to the case, but we asked her whether the E. coli risk was significant.