The investigation of the case for the outbreak of listeriosis in Magrudis has taken an important turn this week, with the request made by the Seville Prosecutor’s Office to the judge investigating the case to declare the City Council as civilly responsible for what happened to the “ deficient sanitary control and of the activity license” carried out by the local Administration. The invoice for allegedly not having done their homework and preventing the sale of the contaminated meat that was distributed under the La Mecha brand is several million euros.
In fact, the instructor, Pilar Ordonez, set the bail imposed on the owners of Magrudis at five million euros to deal with the damage caused by the listeriosis outbreak, which caused the death of four people, six miscarriages and more than 200 affected. All these people and the relatives of the deceased will have to be compensated when the sentence is handed down, as will the Junta de Andalucia, which has estimated the health cost derived from the outbreak at 3,428,663.02 euros for the time being.
The case has already cost Seville City Council itself, for now, 141,040 euros, an amount that includes various expenses, such as services and overtime for the municipal laboratory and the Consumer Affairs area, police surveillance, and the contract for digitization and data processing of the file.
Health care expenses for the injured exceed 3.4 million
Also included among municipal expenses are tests on the ovens at the Magrudis facilities in the El Pino industrial estate; the rental of a car to transport the samples and the cost of the samples analyzed in the laboratories; and the transfer of the meat for incineration in a cement factory in Jerez de la Frontera.

And how much money has been raised so far to deal with that million-dollar bill from Magrudis A minimal amount, practically derisory compared to the expenses incurred and the possible compensation. The Court of Instruction number 10 of Seville has consigned in its account the 300,000 euros contributed by the insurer AXA, for the damage insurance that Magrudis had contracted, and this same week it has received the income of another 11,500 euros that a businessman has paid for the purchase of the 26 goods seized from Magrudis , for the machinery and furniture intervened in the warehouses of the meat company.
The figure can still be increased, but a little more, due to the five vehicles seized from the company and its owners,taking into account also that the vehicles suffer a great depreciation over time, as the instructor revealed this week in a resolution in which she authorized the sale of the goods, and in this case almost a year has passed since the embargo of the same was agreed upon.
And there is only 300,000 euros of insurance and 11,500 euros of seized assets
. In this way and for what has been guaranteed so far, there is only a little more than 311,500 euros to pay for some expenses and compensationwhich, according to the judge’s estimates, can be around five million euros, an amount that, in the case of declaring after the trial the subsidiary civil liability of the City Council, would have to come out of the municipal coffers. That is to say, that the supposed negligent action of the municipal services would end up being paid by all the citizens of Seville.
The City Council has not yet made any statement regarding the request made by the Prosecutor’s Office, but everything indicates that the instructor could finally declare the civil liability of the Consistory, especially since throughout the instruction the judge herself has not denied that this could happen.
Several accusations that represent the interests of those affected opposed in their day to the City Council and the Junta de Andalucia intervening as a private accusation in the case, alleging precisely that they could be civilly responsible for the damage due to the lack of inspections or control of the activity of the meat company.
The judge then responded by pointing out that “the fact that it may result in the future, once this instruction is advanced, subsidiary civil liability, does not prevent him from being considered as harmed at this time, since it is possible to have the double condition of responsible and harmed or affected third party, since the same person can be civilly responsible for a crime and at the same time harmed or affected by it, ”according to the magistrate in an order.
The Facua consumer association , which exercises the private prosecution in the process and represents a group of injured parties, also opposed allowing the appearance of the City Council, highlighting the possible “responsibility that the City Council could have in the face of a total and absolute lack of control to assess the necessary compliance by Magrudis with the necessary administrative requirements to carry out the meat production activity”.
All these indications that cast doubt on the performance of municipal services have now been verified by the Prosecutor’s Office, which considers that the City Council should be declared civilly liable and “assume the consequences of its inaction, poor action and late action”., as it supposes normal or abnormal functioning of a public service and the transcendence in the produced result”.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the performance of the City Council’s veterinary inspection service was “undoubtedly deficient”, although it has requested the file of the case against the veterinary inspector investigated for the “lack of means of the inspection service itself and work overload , due to the scarce staffing in view of the existence of only nine official veterinarians for the district of Seville” .
Only nine officials to inspect the activities made it possible for Magrudis to be inspected only twice before the health alert, in 2016 and 2017.The question is whether, given what has been seen, what happened with Magrudis could be repeated if the City Council has not acted to improve the control systems, as the municipal opposition has denounced this week.

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