Pilgrim's Pride Corporation has agreed settlements on four wrongful-death or injury lawsuits arising from a 2002 outbreak of liysteria that was linked to one of its plants, the company said on Friday (5 May).

The 2002 outbreak resulted in the deaths of eight people and one of the largest meat recalls in the US. The announcement came one day after the US District Court refused to throw out the cases pending against the company.

Terms of the settlement, which has not yet been filed with the District Court, are yet to be released.

"As we have said from the outset of litigation, our turkey deli products were safe to eat and did not cause injuries to any of the individuals involved," Pilgrim's Pride spokesman Ray Atkinson said in the statement.

"We did this in order to bring the case to a close without incurring the costs and time associated with a trial and possible appeal," the statement said.

The second food company linked to the outbreak, JL Foods, will defend itself in federal court when the first case reaches trial next week, the Associated Press reported.