Everybody loses except …

Kellogg Co, the first company to report the financial costs of the sweeping U.S. peanut product recall caused by an outbreak of salmonella (and the first to voluntarily recall products made with the peanut product), said the recalls will likely cost a pretty penny. Chief Executive David Mackay told Reuters the recall would cost the company $65 million to $70 million, including accounting costs, but declined to comment on any legal action Kellogg might take and whether the company can recover any of the money lost.

Commenting on the supplier of the peanut products, Mackay said Kellogg received certifications from outside inspectors that found nothing wrong with the ingredients, but the recall may force food companies to do more to ensure the safety of the ingredients they use. "I think we, along with other food manufacturers, while we believe we follow best practices assuring food safety and quality, are going to have to revisit whether there are other things that we and the industry need to do differently going forward," Mackay said.

Meanwhile litigation lawyer Bill Marler, a so-called expert in food-borne illness cases, has filed a lawsuit against Kellogg on behalf of a Vermont couple whose son was sickened by the tainted product, reports Morning Cup. "Kellogg also shares liability with Peanut Corp. of America because Kellogg is a manufacturer of crackers that have sickened people in this outbreak," Marler said. “I hope Marler gets nada, although if history is a measure, it's possible Kellogg will cave and settle rather than be dragged through the slime of public scrutiny,” writes Editor Bob Messenger. “But Kellogg is just the beginning, folks; if I were the other food companies involved in the recall, I'd start warming up the legal teams.”

Yes, I agree. It’s been a horrendous loss for victims of the tainted products, the food industry, another blow for consumer confidence and even the reputation of responsible suppliers (by association). But it will undoubtedly be a profitable time for litigation lawyers.