A lawsuit has been filed in an Oregon federal court on behalf of a 10-monthold girl who allegedly became ill and was hospitalized after eating a meatball made with ground turkey contaminated with Salmonella. Lee v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., No. 11-993 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Ore., filed August 16, 2011). Represented by an attorney with food plaintiffs’ firm Marler Clark, the plaintiffs allege that the baby spent seven days in the hospital after her parents were advised that “Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria she had ingested from the defendants’ ground turkey product had gotten into her bloodstream, and she needed urgent care.”  

Seeking damages in excess of $75,000, the plaintiffs allege strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, and negligence per se. They claim damages for “general pain and suffering; damages for loss of enjoyment of life, both past and future; medical and medically-related expenses, both past and future; travel and travel-related expenses, past and future; emotional distress, and future emotional distress; pharmaceutical expenses, past and future; related wage and lost earning capacity damages; and all other ordinary, incidental and consequential damages as would be anticipated to arise under the circumstances.”

In a related development, a coalition of consumer groups has written to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to urge “prompt consideration of a recent petition to declare certain strains of ABR Salmonella as adulterants and prevent meat and poultry products contaminated with those strains from being sold to consumers.” The August 11, 2011, letter cites the “recent antibiotic-resistant” outbreak and “resulting recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey,” to bolster its call for “quick action” on the petition filed in May by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Additional details about the petition appear in Issue 396 of this Update.