Sara Lee Corporation announced today that the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, has preliminarily approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit involving the company’s 1998 recall of certain packaged meat products. If approved by the Court later this year, the settlement reached by the parties will resolve all issues in both pending class action suits, including this one in Cook County as well as a separate class action suit filed in Wayne County, Michigan.

Because these claims are still in litigation and because claims can be filed until September 1, 2000, the total dollar value of the settlements will not be known until later this year. However, Sara Lee believes that the total costs of claims filed under the settlements will not exceed $5 million.

A toll-free number (1-800-804-7537) has been established for individuals seeking further information about the class action settlements.

Sara Lee also announced that it recently settled five individual claims filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County for a total of $1.6 million. These were claims alleging personal injury related to the recalled product.

Sara Lee has consistently challenged all claims related to its 1998 recall, and contends that the source of the illnesses was never firmly established. In settling these cases, the company does not admit to any wrongdoing, but has chosen to resolve the matter rather than to invest the additional time and resources that would be involved in a continued legal process.

Sara Lee Corporation ( is a global consumer packaged goods company with more than $20 billion in annual revenues.