Spiral Foods Getting Sued?

On one of my recent posts, we had a someone (who turned out to be a News Ltd journalist) asking a lot of questions.

She got in touch with me and we had some fairly lengthy discussions, some of which was on the record for an article in the Daily Telegraph.

The to-press article, which is here, didn’t include any of the information I provided, which was very disappointing as I provided some detailed information about the 2003-2004 cases in NZ (which you can read about here).

I thought it was a pretty weak article (not the author’s fault, I’m told the editing team chopped it down) – this issue is worthy of a bit more investigation, particularly in regard of the food authorities.

One blog sought to link increases in the price of Bonsoy to any such legal cases – a fairly long bow to draw (and that’s being very generous).

I’m pretty interested to see how this progresses. As I have mentioned here, most people will be able to make a claim under established legislation for medical costs and time off work. People with more serious injuries (pregnancy issues, permanent thyroid or heart damage) really ought to contact someone like Slater and Gordon, as they probably should have a damages claim assessed for viability.

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An Update: “Tim, time to come off the medication”

So, I received a letter from my endocrinologist yesterday.

I am back to normal on all thyroid markers; T4, T3 and TSH – smack bang in the middle of all the reference ranges.

So, after 5 months on medication, I am back.

My heart is still utterly stuffed – I reckon I’ve lost 10-20bpm off my peak heart, which has a massive effect in races – and my fitness has dropped around 20-30% (I’ve lost about 2-3 minutes per km when running), and it still starts racing for no reason at random moments, but I’m sleeping better after 5 months of crap sleep.

So, I have two more blood tests (TFT tests) over the next two months, and assuming those are ok, I’ll have the medical cost and lost time totals that I will be seeking to recover from Spiral.

I have a letter from my endocrinologist pinpointing my illness to Bonsoy consumption. I am tossing up whether to make the wording of this available to others of you seeking to recover costs from Spiral.

Don’t forget though, something like this can potentially permanently damage your health, and that’s the basis upon which you may be able to make a future claim against the manufacturer for damages (and that’s when things start getting serious from a legal perspective) – read more here.

I hope all of you are recovering too.

Tim

Update on Legal Action and Medical Cost Recovery

So, here is the state of play regarding cost recovery from Spiral Foods – their lawyers and insurance company are now involved.

Legal Information from my contact with my lawyers
I met with a lawyer today to ascertain the viability of proceeding with a legal case.

Some of what I discussed will remain confidential (bearing in mind Spiral Foods representatives read this site), but here’s where I am at. I hope it gives you renewed hope.

I will be pursuing medical costs and lost time from work, now. I can’t tell you on what basis this will happen, but it is made under established legislation. If you email me, I can provide this info for you.

If, within the next 3 years (according to current Victorian legislation), I have continuing ongoing issues, then the matter can be taken further then under damages legislation.

As an aside, the lawyer advised me that anyone with more serious issues, such as extended time off work, serious heart, thyroid (or otherwise issues) or pregnancy issues (miscarriage or otherwise), ought to contact Slater and Gordon immediately. They have a dedicated area for handling this issue.

Although this absolutely does not constitute legal advice, it has been strongly recommended that no one sign anything that limits your ability to sue for damages later down the track.

So, if you are offered compensation for medical costs/time off work on the basis that you will not be able to take action later, it was strongly recommended to me that one should not sign any agreement that contained such a provision.

Information from Spiral Foods
Until May 2010, I have had zero response from Spiral on recovering costs. I initially called them and they seemed amenable, providing me the contact below.

Previously, the contact for enquiries was Lisa Carey at Spiral Foods (Ph: 1300 303 794).

Incidentally, the new contact, according to the current press release on the Spiral website is:
Meghann Dengate
Professional Public Relations
Phone: 02 9818 9311
Mobile: [removed for privacy reasons]
E-mail: meghann dot dengate at ppr dot com dot au

Despite several attempts to elicit a response, I have not received anything until the morning of May 10th, 2010.

Here’s what I got back.

Thank you for your email. We confirm that your email was forwarded to our insurer. We have now been advised that our insurer has appointed lawyers to investigate the matter and will send a copy of your email to the lawyers. As you can appreciate under our insurance policy any compensation claims must be dealt with by the insurer and its lawyers not by Spiral Foods. We understand the lawyers are in the process of investigating all potential claims. We understand your frustration and we have urged the insurer and its lawyers to deal with your email as quickly as possible.

So, my advice (remembering I am not a lawyer) is that you collect your medical costs, keep all your receipts (including for medication) and keep a track of all your days off work.

More information as things develop…

Bonsoy Related Thyrotoxicosis Cases Not being Reported?

Another email from a concerned reader today tells me that the 10 or so cases related to Bonsoy in her endocrinologists practice have not been registered.

These cases should be reported to the Office of Health Protection, reachable on 02 6289 2751.

The cases must be reported by your GP or endocrinologist, which will probably involve them having to fill out some forms.

More information is available at:

  • OzFoodNet (Australian Government Initiative)
  • Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Bonsoy site

OzFoodNet’s mission is:

“a health network to enhance the surveillance of foodborne diseases in Australia”.

Why is reporting your case important?
Reporting your case is extremely important and appropriate as the numbers are quoted at approximately 39 affected (as reported in the media) which to me is vastly under-reported?

Thanks to K for the tip.