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Organic fertilizer contaminated with salmonella, suit claims

By Legal News Line | Feb 13, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - Oceano Packing Company is suing True Organic Products and Western Farm Service for selling fertilizer contaminated by salmonella. The suit filed Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court of Northern District of California, came after three unrelated customers of Oceano reported finding salmonella in Oceano crops. Both Defendants are being sued for negligence, breach of express and implied warranty of fitness, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unfair competition, and for allegedly violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The Act holds that any agricultural product labeled or represented as 100 percent organic must be produced in accordance with federal guidelines. The complaint also alleges that Western Farm Service engaged in criminal conversion and allegedly defamed the plaintiff. According to the complaint, Western Farm representatives allegedly went onto Oceano's property in January without permission and removed a variety of items of personal property, mostly chemicals. The complaint alleges that Western Farm represented to third parties that Oceano does not pay its trade debts in a timely manner. During the 2007 growing season, Oceano contacted Western Farm Service, a California company, for its recommendation on a fertilizer. Western recommended a fertilizer known as "true 10-5-2," which was manufactured by True Organic Products. Oceano, which claims to have conducted its own investigation, states that the fertilizer was the source of salmonella contamination. Anastauddiou & Associates of Salinas, Calif. represents Oceano.

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