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Dec. 7, 2021

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Grocer sues Oregon beef producer for $2.7M over 2019 outbreak

Several people were sickened by E. coli, prompting wide recall

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PORTLAND — Lawyers representing New Seasons Market have filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against an Oregon beef producer accusing the company of negligence for delivering beef tainted with E. coli in 2019, court records show.

Several people were sickened by the bacteria, prompting a wide recall, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The suit, filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court by the Portland-based company, names Country Natural Beef, based in Redmond.

Lawyers for New Seasons and Oregon Country Beef didn’t immediately return calls for comment from the newspaper.

On Nov. 8, 2019, officials from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Agriculture told New Seasons that three cases of E. coli had been connected to ground beef sold in Portland-area stores of the grocery chain.

The chain took samples from meat cases and sent them to a state-run lab for analysis. Two came back positive for E. coli and both were determined to have come from Country Natural Beef, the lawsuit said.

New Seasons pulled ground beef from shelves in all of its stores and recalled ground-beef products it had sold, according to the suit. The suspension of ground-beef sales lasted three months, the lawsuit says.

Many customers returned products and received refunds, and New Seasons disposed of the unsold beef products, according to the suit.

New Seasons seeks money to recover costs from paying refunds, cleaning, issuing and carrying out the recall, and investigating the outbreak source. The chain also seeks damages for a loss of goodwill with customers, according to the suit.

The lawsuit said Country Natural Beef has examined its internal procedures and implemented a new beef-testing policy.

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