National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Mother Nature is no defense.

That is the G-rated version of food safety lawyer Bill Marler's comments about a quote from Eric Jensen in the Dallas Morning News. The excerpt:

Eric Jensen, the fourth-generation produce grower who runs what’s left of Jensen Farms with his brother Ryan, said the future of the company remains cloudy.

Jensen, 36, attributed the outbreak to “something Mother Nature did.”

“We didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said.


Marler's "bull$@!%" retort is understandable. While we can "blame" God or Mother Nature for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, etc., Eric Jensen should know that he sounds awfully self-serving by fingering uncontrollable factors for the outbreak. There was a reason for the listeria outbreak at his facility, as freakish as it seems.

If there is any hope of avoiding this type of deadly outbreak in the future, it rests with the reasoned understanding of what went wrong and devising what steps should be put in place to avoid a similar outcome in the future.

With four generations of toiling on the land in the rear view mirror, Eric Jensen can't help but wonder "why" this tragic outbreak struck the Jensen farm in 2011.  Victims of the outbreak have asked the same question about their suffering. The latter question is more wrenching and unknowable than the former.