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Blue Bell Was Aware of Listeria Contamination

Federal investigators have stated that Blue Bell Creameries found evidence of Listeria monocytogenes in its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plant as far back as 2013 but failed to take the appropriate actions to prevent contamination.

About the Listeria Contamination

According to the Houston Chronicle the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the results of an investigation into the Blue Bell listeria outbreak. The results indicate Blue Bell was following inadequate sanitation procedures even after finding evidence of listeria contamination in the Oklahoma factory.

Among the items found to be “presumptive positive” for listeria were floors, pallets, and other non-food-contact surfaces.

Additionally, investigators found water condensation inside the plant dripped into containers of frozen sherbet during production and evidence that the condensation may have dripped into ice cream mix.

The inspectors also noted that Blue Bell had detected coliform bacteria in finished products.

Listeriosis Statistics and Information

The following information was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Roughly 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths are caused by listeriosis in the U.S. every year.
  • The largest recorded outbreak recorded in the United States occurred in 2011 with 147 illnesses, 33 deaths, and 1 miscarriage.
  • The deadly 2011 outbreak was linked to the consumption of cantaloupe from a single farm.

Lawsuit Blames Takata Airbag for Houston Man’s Death

According to ABC News, an airbag manufactured by Takata Corp. of Japan exploded and killed Carlos Solis, 35, in Houston.

Family Files Lawsuit Against Takata

Solis’s family filed a lawsuit claiming that the airbag in his 2002 Honda Accord exploded and a piece of metal from the bag went into his neck. The lawsuit alleges that Takata and Honda have been negligent because the airbag does not work properly and is a danger.

It also claims that the dealership is guilty of not replacing air bags following recalls issued by Honda before the car was sold to Solis.

American Honda has confirmed that the air bag inflator ruptured in Solis’ vehicle.

There have also been previous cases of Takata airbags causing five deaths and dozens of injuries worldwide. About 12 million vehicles in the U.S. and 19 million worldwide have been recalled because of the airbags. Takata is still trying to figure out the reason behind the explosions.

The company has urged anyone with a vehicle recalled for air bag problems to take their cars to dealers as soon as possible. Takata has stated that their number one priority is the safety of the driving public.

Vehicles Included in Takata Airbag Recalls

Multiple automakers have issued recalls for vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags. The following vehicle models are covered by these recalls:

  • BMW – 627,615 vehicles affected:
    • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
    • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
    • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
    • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
    • 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
    • 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible
  • Chrysler/Dodge – 3.3 million vehicles affected:
    • 2005-2008 Chrysler 300
    • 2007-2008 Chrysler Aspin
    • 2006-2007 Dodge Charger
    • 2003-2008 Dodge Ram 1500
    • 2005-2008 Dodge Ram 2500
    • 2005-2008 Dodge Dakota
    • 2005-2008 Dodge Durango
    • 2006-2008 Dodge Ram 3500
    • 2006-2008 Dodge Ram 4500
    • 2008 Dodge Ram 5500
  • Ford – 502,489 vehicles affected:
    • 2004 Ford Ranger
    • 2005-2006 Ford GT
    • 2005-2007 Ford Mustang
  • General Motors – 133,211 vehicles affected:
    • 2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
    • 2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
    • 2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
    • 2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
    • 2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
    • 2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    • 2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
    • 2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
    • 2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
    • 2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
    • 2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
    • 2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
    • 2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
    • 2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana
    • 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
    • 2005 Saab 9-2x
  • Honda – 5.4 million vehicles affected:
    • 2002-2003 Acura CL and TL
    • 2003-2006  Acura MDX
    • 2005 Acura RL
    • 2001-2007 Honda Accord
    • 2001-2005 Honda Civic
    • 2002-2006 Honda CR-V
    • 2002-2004 Honda Odyssey
    • 2003-2011 Honda Element
    • 2003-2007 Honda Pilot
    • 2006 Honda Ridgeline
  • Mazda – Approximately 330,000 vehicles affected:
    • 2003-2007 Mazda6
    • 2004-2008 RX-8
    • 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6
    • 2004-2005 MPV
    • 2004 B-Series
  • Mitsubishi – 11,985 vehicles affected:
    • 2004-2005 Lancer
    • 2006-2007 Raider
  • Nissan – 717,364 vehicles affected:
    • 2001-2004 Infinity I30/I35
    • 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4
    • 2003-2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45
    • 2006 Infiniti M35/M45
    • 2001-2003 Nissan Maxima
    • 2001-2004 Nissan Pathfinder
    • 2002-2006 Nissan Sentra
  • Subaru – 17,516 vehicles affected:
    • 2003-2005 Baja
    • 2003-2005 Legacy
    • 2003-2005 Outback
    • 2004-2005 Impreza/WRX/WRX STI
  • Toyota – 877,000 vehicles affected:
    • 2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
    • 2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
    • 2003 – 2004 Toyota  Matrix
    • 2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
    • 2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra

3 Texas Firms Recall 320,000 lbs. of Meat

HEB, Garcia Foods, and J&J Sausage Co. have issued recalls affecting roughly 320,000 pounds of meat products. According to WFAA, the products are being recalled for “misbranding and undeclared allergens.”

HEB Meat Center Recall

  • 83,000 pounds of pork products affected.
  • Recall covers the following products:
    • Random weight vacuum-packed clear packages containing “Pork Chorizo.”
    • Random weight clear covered trays containing “HE Mi Comida Chorizo Pork Chorizo.”
    • Random weight vacuum-packed clear packages containing “SEASONED MEXICAN STYLE PORK FOR CARNE AL PASTOR.”

J&B Sausage Co. Recall

  • 46,000 pounds of chicken and beef products affected.
  • Recalled products include:
    • 5-lb. packages of fully cooked “Chefs-In-A-Bag CHICKEN TACO FILLING.”
    • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED Texas Style BEEF CHILI No Beans.”
    • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED Taqueria Style PICADILLO Seasoned Ground Beef with Potatoes, Onion, Tomatoes and Peppers.”
    • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED CARNE GUISADA Seasoned Beef in Gravy.”
  • Products were produced between August 25 and December 15, 2014. Products may contain undeclared peanuts.
Garcia Foods, Inc. Recall
  • 190,000 pounds of pork recalled.
  • Products include:
    • 12-oz vacuum-packed, raw pork sausage link pieces of “HILL COUNTRY FARE CHORIZO.”
    • 8-oz vacuum-packed, raw pork sausage chubs of “HILL COUNTRY FARE CHORIZO.”

Guardrail Crash Test Failure Videos Released in Trinity Lawsuit

In a trial involving Trinity Ind., videos of nationally used highway guardrailing failing during a crash test were revealed.

About The Guardrail Trial

ABC News reports the federal suit is between Texas-based Trinity Industries and competitor Joshua Harman. Harman is arguing that the corporation kept information hidden about their ET-plus guardrail end terminal design changes. The ET-plus guardrails were approved for sale and are meant to absorb impacts.

The U.S. government has chosen to remain uninvolved in this case; however, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Nevada, have all suspended the use of new guardrails until safety investigations are completed. Virginia is now also looking into the issue.

Trinity is working with state governments to ensure that ”accurate information has been given” about their products. Trial is being held in Marshall, Texas and began on Monday, October 13th.

The Guardrail Failed Crash Test Videos

The crash tests videos were shot sometime between 2006 and 2005. They were never given to the federal government.

In the crash tests videos, five tests were conducted where small cars where rammed into the guardrails. 2 out of the 5 times the vehicle rolled over, and in one incident, the guardrail impaled the car. In these videos, the metal structure clearly failed in some form.

Brian Smith, Trinity Vice President of International Sales, commented that the videos showed an “experimental” version of the ET-plus guardrails and that the design never went into production.

Furthermore, Trinty claims that since the guardrails shown in the video were not manufactured there is no reason to have submitted the videos. Also, that the guardrails used in the videos were put together differently than those that are in use in U.S. highways.

The Texas-based corporation has made public crash test videos from 2005 to 2010 in which the guard railing system functions properly.

CAS Believes Some Deaths May Be Linked to Chrysler Defect

According to reports from CBS News, Chrysler owners are experiencing major malfunctions with their vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety believes the malfunctions may have already caused several deaths.

Chrysler Investigating Consumer Complaints

Chrysler has received multiple complains concerning a vehicle defect that can result in stalls, unintended acceleration, and electronic issues.

Customers are now taking to social media with videos of their vehicles do unusual things such as lurching forward unexpectedly and powering on electrical systems inadvertently.

Complaints have been filed in connection with Chrysler and Dodge minivans, Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, and Dodge RAM pickups made since the company adopted a new electronic control module in 2007.

The situation is being investigated further to ensure safety for drivers of Chrysler vehicles.

CAC Investigating 20 Deaths for Possible Link

The Center for Auto Safety (CAS), believes the problem is being caused by a defect in the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). The TIPM is a vehicle’s electronic nerve center or fuse box. It controls the functions of the vehicle.

According to CAS, a malfunctioning TIPM can cause such serious problems as airbag failure, vehicle shutdowns, unintended acceleration and fires. The TIPM was installed in millions of Chrysler vehicles manufactured between 2007 and 2014.

Chrysler has submitted 20 claims of deaths and CAS is investigating further to determine what role the faulty TIPM may have played in these deaths. Chrysler claims it is unaware of any deaths being directly related to the TIPM and continues to reinforce the notion that all their vehicles meet safety requirements.

The company does admit they are investigating the claims and customer complaints. Chrysler has experienced recalls on their TIPM components before in 2007 and 2012.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports they are reviewing the allegations and will rectify the situation if needed.

General Motors Issues Recall for Bad Seat Weld

General Motors has issued a recall that affects all four current GM brands with approximately 124,000 vehicles being recalled.  The recall was issued due to a faulty seat weld.

About the General Motors Recall

According to USA Today, General Motors (GM) initiated recall due to a faulty seat weld that could separate in the event of a crash occurring.  This fault can cause serious injury and death to consumers affected by the recall.

There have been no incidents reported of any problems occurring thus far.

Vehicles Affected by the GM Seat Weld Recall

There were 8 different vehicles subjected to the recall as told by General Motors (GM):

  • 2013-14 Buick Encore – 30,872 built between August 2012 and March 2014
  • 2013-14 Cadillac ATS – 60,493 built between April 2012 and December 2013
  • 2014 Cadillac CTS – 13,657 built between June 2013 and December 2013
  • 2014 Cadillac ELR – 172 built between December 2013 and January 2014
  • 2014 Chevrolet Caprice – 3,879 built between May 2013 and July 2014
  • 2014 Chevrolet SS – 3,525 built between September 2013 and June 2014
  • 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado – 8,483 built between August 2013 and January 2014
  • 2014-15 GMC Sierra – 2,926 built between August 2013 and January 2014

GM dealers have said that they will inspect the seat frames of the vehicles recalled to ensure proper welds are in place and, if needed, they will replace the lower seat frames.

GM has said that they expect less than 1 percent of the vehicles to be affected and need a replacement part.

GM’s 60th Recall

This marks the sixtieth recall issued by GM this year, totaling 26.41 million vehicles.

The most significant recall issued by GM was that for 2.6 million vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches. According to GM, these switches could inadvertently shift out of the “run” position and into the “off” or “accessory” positions, leaving motorist without anti-lock brakes, power steering, and airbag functionality.

So far, GM has confirmed at least 13 deaths and dozens of crashes in connection with the ignition switch defect. The automaker is now working with attorney Kenneth Feinberg to payout settlements through a victims’ compensation fund.

Peach, Plum, Nectarine, and Pluot Recall

Wawona Packing Company has announced a recall of peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots due to a possible health hazard.

About the Fruit Recall

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Wawona Packing Co. has recalled the fruit because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Beginning July 18, 2014, no fruit has been packaged at Wawona Packing Company in Cutler, California. Consumers are recommended to discard of the recalled fruit and are eligible to receive a refund at the place-of-purchase with a receipt.

Wawona Fruit Company has already notified its business customers of the recall. Since the source of the Listeria monocytogenes has yet to be found, Wawona Packing Co. will not open until it meets the approved FDA standards of health safety.

Medical Effects of Using the Recalled Fruit

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that causes Listeria, a serious infection.

Listeria usually affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. People with Listeria tend to experience high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In pregnant women, Listeria can lead to stillbirths and miscarriages.

If customers have any questions, Wawona Packing’s consumer information desk can be reached at 1-888-232-9912 (M-F, 8am-11pm EST or Sat-Sun 8am-8pm EST) or they may visit www.wawonapacking.com for a copy of the recalled product photos.

Description of Recalled Fruit
  • The fruit includes whole white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, plums, and pluots.
  • The recalled fruits were packaged nationwide from July 1 to July 17, 2014.
  • Wawona Packing shipped the recalled products directly to retailers and wholesalers who resell or further distribute the products.
  • The following brands sell the recalled fruit: Sweet 2 Eat, Sweet 2 Eat Organic, and Mrs. Smittcamp’s.
  • The recalled products are also packed in private labels.
  • The brands will be on the boxes or on the stickers placed on individual fruit.

More Than 600 GM Victims File Lawsuit against Automaker

More than 600 victims of crashes involving General Motors vehicles have filed a lawsuit against the automaker seeking compensation. The majority of those involved in the suit say they are ineligible for the GM settlement fund that was established to compensate GM ignition recall victims, according to a new CNN article.

About the GM Lawsuit

The lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Robert Hilliard, includes over 600 plaintiffs, including the families of 29 people killed in crashes involving faulty ignition switches. In June, GM released details of a GM fund that would be used to compensate victims who were injured or killed in accidents involving 2.6 million with defective ignition switches. However, the plaintiffs in the recently filed suit aren’t eligible for that plan because their vehicle was part of a later ignition switch recall and not the earlier one.

“This makes absolutely no sense that the fund is restricted to the first 2.6 million vehicles initially recalled for ignition switch issues,” said Hilliard. “GM needs to step up and acknowledge the blood on its hands from all of these recalled cars.”

The lawsuit includes victims who were involved in crashes that happened after GM emerged from bankruptcy restructuring in 2009; however, Hilliard has more than 200 additional plaintiffs involved in pre-2009 crashes he says he will seek to add to the suit.

Also part of the lawsuit are some victims who are eligible for the GM settlement fund but feel that the protocol outlined won’t give them fair compensation.

GM Settlement Fund

The GM fund is set to begin accepting claims on Aug. 1 for eligible victims. GM hired victims’ compensation specialist attorney Ken Feinberg to create the program amid pressure from lawmakers and victims to compensate the potentially hundreds of victims. One estimate released by GM in its quarterly filing estimates the total payout from the fund to be about $400 million, although the company has set no cap to the fund itself nor individual payments.

Thomas J. Henry Fights for GM Recall Victims

Thomas J. Henry is representing more than 1,000 GM recall victims across the United States and has been investigating injuries and deaths linked to the recall since day one. The firm launched a nationwide media investigation into the recall in April, which brought forth thousands of affected individuals who had information critical to the investigation – information that the firm has handed over to federal agencies also investigating GM’s sluggish response the recall. As more and more individuals have flocked to Thomas J. Henry for representation, the firm has continued to push GM for a victim settlement fund. The firm has had several talks with GM’s victim compensation expert Ken Feinberg regarding appropriate victim compensation for the thousands affected by a fatal design flaw in ignition switches which left numerous dead and countless others seriously injured.

Texas Teen Dies in Go-Kart Crash

A teenage girl died Sunday in a go-kart crash at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  She has been identified as 14-year-old Kierstin Eaddy of Flower Mound.

About the Fatal Go-Kart Crash

Authorities say Eaddy was racing in a solo Sports Car Club of America autocross event when the crash occurred.  Police say it’s unclear if the girl lost control for medical or mechanical reasons.

No cause of death was immediately listed for the teen.

Witnesses say the victim accelerated as she passed the finish line and hit a cable.  According to the Daily Mail, it has also been reported she smashed into a low fence, which ripped off her helmet and brought her kart to a stop in a field next to the track.

She was airlifted to Harris Methodist hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

According to her father, she had been racing since age 7 and was a member of North Texas Karting and the Dallas Karting Complex.  She was a two-time regional champion and was wearing her helmet, neck brace, gloves, and racing suit at the time of the accident.

Go-Kart Injury Statistics

The following facts were taken from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • More than 10,000 go-kart injuries to children 15 and younger occur each year.
  • Injuries resulted from collisions with stationary objects, moving vehicles, or losing control of the go-kart and rolling over.
  • Injuries included lacerations, contusions, fractures, amputations, scalping, head trauma, and death.

Cadillac ATS and CTS Recalled due to Transmission Defect

General Motors has recently issued a recall affecting approximately 90,750 Cadillac ATS and Cadillac CTS vehicles due to a potential transmission cable problem.

About the Cadillac Transmission Recall

According to a Consumer Affairs report, GM will recall the following vehicles:

  • 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS vehicles manufactured between April 23, 2012 and March 20, 2014
  • 2014 Cadillac CTS vehicles manufactured between June 10, 2013 and March 20, 2014

The transmission cable in these vehicles can detach, resulting in the improper gear showing in the gear display. If the cable detaches while the car is being driven, GM says the vehicle may move in an intended or unexpected direction. Additionally, if the vehicle is put in “park” the car might not actually be in “park,” which can cause the vehicle to roll away.

GM says that dealers will inspect the transmission cables in the vehicles and repair them as needed, free of charge. The recall should start in early August.

Continued Problems for Cadillacs

The transmission cable recall follows the recent admission by GM that it currently does not have a fix for some Cadillac CTS and SRX vehicles that were recalled in June. The ignition switch in the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS and 2004-2006 SRX vehicles can move out of the “run” position, resulting in the loss of power steering, power brakes, and airbags. GM had originally proposed giving owners an altered ignition key, but further testing showed that newer models, which have a different ignition switch, can still stall.

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