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alleging 'contaminated' spinach

US: California company sues Corvallis farm

A Northern California food manufacturer has filed a complaint against a family-run farm in Corvallis, accusing the Oregon grower of selling “contaminated” organic spinach. The complaint, filed by Portland attorneys for Amy’s Kitchen, Inc. in Petaluma, seeks at least $400,000 in damages from Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc. in Corvallis. The suit says last October that Amy’s employees discovered “contaminated spinach during the thawing stage” of product supplied the month previously by Stahlbush.

The suit does not give any details. John Spencer Stewart, a Portland lawyer who represents Amy’s Kitchen, declined to comment on the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene. The suit says Amy's Kitchen had used the spinach in finished product which it had to track down and destroy. Debbie Cozzetto, director of marketing and sales for Stahlbush, said none of the spinach was recalled, no one fell ill and that the suit did not concern food safety. She also declined to comment on the contamination.

“While we attempt to be perfect, there are biological realities to farming,” she said. She said it was regrettable that Amy’s Kitchen was not able to work out an agreement with Stahlbush’s insurance company. “It’s so regrettable for both parties,” she said. The Corvallis farm, 28 years old, grows fruit and vegetables and distributes nationwide and internationally. Cozzetto said a third of the company’s 5,000 acres is organic and the rest certified sustainable. Cozetto said the company is still supplying produce to Amy’s Kitchen.


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