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Texas Woman Files Suit Against Reily Foods over Spice Products Tainted with Peanut and Almond Allergens

Plaintiff suffered a severe allergic reaction after consuming chili made with spices from New Orleans-based Reily Foods Co.

Montgomery County resident Jillian Neal has filed a lawsuit against Reily Food Co. of New Orleans, LA after suffering a severe allergic reaction from chili made with the company’s chili spice mix. Neal is represented by John Ramsey of Ramsey Hill LLP in Houston, TX, and Bill Marler of Marler Clark, a Seattle-based firm specializing in food safety. The cause number for the lawsuit, which was filed in Montgomery County, is 15-01-00782.

Deathly allergic to peanut products, Jillian Neal has trained herself to be diligent in checking labels for ingredients.  In November of 2014, she ate chili made with the seemingly harmless chili spice mix from Reily Foods. The mix did not mention nuts of any kind in its ingredients list or labeling. Soon after, she became violently ill, suffering from a severe allergic reaction. Her family rushed her to the hospital where she received life-saving medical care.

It wasn’t until a month later, on December 19, 2014, that the Federal Food and Drug Administration recalled Reily’s “Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili Kit” and “Carroll Shelby White Chicken Chili Mix” after it was found that one or more of the spice ingredients purchased from a third-party supplier contained peanut and almond allergens that were not declared on the products’ ingredient statements.

“There is no excuse for someone with a severe peanut allergy almost dying simply because they ate a bowl of chili,” said John Ramsey, who has worked with many product liability victims. “With all the people in this country suffering from peanut allergies, food companies need to ensure their products are properly labeled.”

Jillian Neal is one of approximately 3 million people in the U.S. who suffer from peanut allergies. It is one of the most common food allergies and can cause a severe, potentially fatal, allergic reaction. To prevent a reaction, strict avoidance of peanut and peanut products is essential.

“Consumers put a lot of faith in food companies to keep them safe from foodborne illness, allergic reactions, and other related health risks, yet there are still so many near death and fatal occurrences as a result of food consumption,” said Bill Marler, who has been working to help improve food safety standards since representing victims of the Jack In The Box E. coli outbreak in the early 1990s. “I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it a hundred more. It is time we value our customer’s health as much as we value their dollars and make proper labeling and food safety a top priority.”

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness and other-related pathogens. Their attorneys have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark has litigated against huge corporations including Cargill, Dole, Wal-Mart, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Nebraska Beef, Nestle, and Yum! Brands. Marler Clark’s attorneys travel widely to speak to environmental, health, consumer protection, and industry groups as well as to university students and food safety conference audiences, often on topics related to the intersection of public health and the law preventing foodborne illness.

Ramsey Hill LLP is a Texas based law firm with offices in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.  The Texas Trial Attorneys at Ramsey Hill LLP have litigated and tried lawsuits all over the State of Texas and in many other states.  The Texas Personal Injury Lawyers at Ramsey Hill LLP practice primarily in the areas of personal injury, product liability, oil & gas, and commercial litigation.

Doughnuts in Minnesota and Wisconsin Recalled Over Peanut Fears

Northern Tier Bakery LLC of St. Paul Park, MN is voluntarily recalling Twix Bismarck doughnuts due to the possibility of an undeclared peanut allergen in the Twix topping sourced from a third party. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The Twix Bismarck was distributed and sold between January 1, 2015, and January 14, 2015, at retail convenience stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Twix Bismarck is a white frosted doughnut with a chopped Twix topping.

The recall was initiated after peanut allergen was discovered in the chopped Twix product distributed to Northern Tier Bakery by a third party in packaging that did not reveal the presence of peanuts. Production of the Twix Bismarck has been suspended.

New Jersey Rosa’s Restaurant Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

Another Hepatitis A case is being reported by a person who ate at the same restaurant in Hamilton Township.

Robbinsville Township health officials say the resident ate at Rosa’s Restaurant on 3442 South Broad Street during the time when a food handler reported having Hepatitis A.

The patient works in Hamilton Township. However, health officials say coworkers at the job only have a negligible risk.

The first case of Hepatitis A was confirmed last month in a worker at Rosa’s. In light of that, the township hosted a vaccination clinic at a local firehouse.

Then last week health officials announced two additional cases – a 53-year-old hair dresser and a 60-year-old part-time fitness instructor.

Both women reportedly thought they had the flu before they were diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

All three patients ate at Rosa’s in November while the employee worked there, but health officials say they can’t definitively link the new cases to the first.

Hepatitis A is spread through oral fecal transmission. It’s rarely fatal, but it is highly contagious, and symptoms can appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.

Latest Warning and Recall Information in Listeria Apple Outbreak

As of this morning the best information available is to NOT eat Granny Smith and Gala apples produced by Bidart Bros. in 2014.  Also, continue to heed the warning of the CDC to NOT eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that were made with Bidart Bros. apples.  It certainly would be helpful for consumers to have more information on the chain of distribution and where the apples were sold.  Here is the best detail I can find so far.

United States Recall Announcements and Warnings

Consumers should not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples being recalled by Bidart Bros. All products from 2014.  These apples can be sold under the brand names “Big B” and “Granny’s Best,” though, they could also be sold under other brand names or with no brand at all. Consumers who are buying or have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailers if the apples were supplied by Bidart Bros.  Link

Happy Apples is expanding their recall of caramel apples to include Kroger Brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company with a best use by date between September 15th and November 18th 2014, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  Kroger brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company are sold in single packs and three packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were distributed to the following states: Arizona, Alaska, Kansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  Link

Merb’s Candies, is issuing a recall of the Merb’s Candies brand Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples.  Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples were available for retail sales at St. Louis area locations, through local supermarkets (located in the produce section) and through mail orders nationwide. The product is individually packaged in a clear, burgundy and gold cellophane bag and would have been available from September 8th through November 25th 2014 – no identifying lot codes were used.  Link

California Snack Foods, is issuing a recall of California Snack Foods brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 15th and November 28th 2014.  California Snack Foods caramel apples are sold in single packs and three packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.  Link

Happy Apples, is issuing a recall of Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd 2014.  Happy Apple caramel apples are sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin.  Link

Although no recall has been announced, Minnesota linked illness cases purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples.  These apples were produced by H. Brooks and supplied indirectly by Bidart Brothers.  Link

Safeway was reported to have pulled Caramel Apples after being sued over the death of an elderly woman.  Link

Canadian Recall Announcements and Warnings

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, St. John’s, NL, is recalling caramel apples that used recalled apples sourced from the United States (US) and sold from December 23, 2014 up to and including January 07, 2015 from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.  Link

Industry is recalling Granny Smith apples and Gala apples exported by Bidart Bros. in the United States (US) produced in 2014 from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Identified importers of the recalled products include Beauvais Ltee., Courchesne Larose, Coosemans Montreal Inc. and Fruits et Légumes Gaétan Bono Inc.  Recalled products may have been sold under other brand names besides the one identified or without a brand name at all, such as in bulk. These products have been sold from cash and carry locations. If you are unsure as to whether products are included in this recall, contact the location where they were purchased.  Link

Industry is recalling Happy Apples brand Caramel Apples from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination with best use by dates between August 25 and November 23, 2014.  The products, made in the United States (US), are known to have been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and may have also been distributed in other provinces and territories. These products may also have been purchased in the US. Link

The History of Listeria Outbreak Lawsuits

The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have many years of experience working with clients on Listeria outbreak lawsuits.

Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease caused by the ingestion of Listeria bacteria is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract.

Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream; it invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected with Listeria, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.

Listeria outbreaks pose a very serious threat to the public, with approximately 2,500 cases of listeriosis estimated to occur in the U.S. each year. About 200 in every 1000 cases result in death. Certain groups of individuals are at greater risk for listeriosis, including pregnant women (and their unborn children), the elderly, and immunocompromised persons such as cancer and AIDS patients. We are represent the families of individuals who have suffered illness from this bacterium.

The Marler Clark Listeria lawyers have unmatched experience representing victims of Listeria.

Abbott Cheese Listeria Litigation – British Columbia (2002)

Jensen Farms Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak Lawsuits – Nationwide (2011)

Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese Listeria outbreak – Multistate (2012)

Sangar Fresh Cut Produce Listeria Outbreak Lawsuit – Texas (2010)

Whittier Farms Pasteurized Milk Listeria Outbreak Lawsuit – Massachusetts (2007)

Bidart Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak Lawsuit – Nationwide (2014)

Caramel Apple Listeria Lawsuit – Safeway, Happy Happy and Bidart Bros.

On December 22, 2014, we filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Safeway Inc, in the Superior Court of Santa Cruz on behalf of James Raymond Frey, 87, and the estate of his deceased wife, Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, who died tragically on December 2, 2014 after consuming a Listeria-tainted caramel apple purchased at the Safeway in Felton, California. The case number is CISCV180721.   The complaint was amended on December 29, 2014 to add in two additional parties – Happy Apple and Bidart Brothers.

The events leading up to Mrs. Frey’s death began just before Halloween 2014, when she went to the Safeway store in Felton, California, and purchased, among other things, a commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apple. Shortly after consuming the caramel apple later in the week, Mrs. Frey suddenly began to feel ill.

On November 6, due to weakness and instability related to her illness, Mrs. Frey fell and hit her head. She was rushed to the emergency room, where the decision was made to airlift Mrs. Frey to Stanford Hospital for surgery on what was thought to be a brain-bleed. On November 14th, after the surgery, Mrs. Frey was deemed well enough to be discharged and admitted for rehabilitative care. She appeared to be improving over the next ten days, however, her condition soon started to deteriorate.

On Thanksgiving Day, Mrs. Frey could not be awakened and was immediately readmitted to care at Stanford Hospital. On December 2, the doctors at Stanford Hospital informed the family that Mrs. Frey was suffering from a listeria infection—listeriosis (later confirmed by health department investigators). Already shocked and devastated, the family was informed later that day that Mrs. Frey had died as a result of the infection.

As of January 8, 2015 the CDC reports, a total of 32 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes had been reported from 11 states: Arizona (4), California (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

  • Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and six deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of these deaths.
  • Ten illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant), with one illness resulting in a fetal loss.
  • Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years.
  • To date, 23 (88%) of the 26 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified 2 cases of listeriosis in Canada with the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns as seen in the U.S. outbreak.

On January 6, 2015, Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, California voluntarily recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples because environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple-packing facility. The recall includes all Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from its Shafter, California packing facility in 2014. CDC recommends that consumers not eat any of the recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples produced by Bidart Bros. and that retailers not sell or serve them.  To date, three firms that produce caramel apples have issued voluntary recalls after receiving notice from Bidart Bros. that there may be a connection between Bidart Bros. apples and this listeriosis outbreak. On December 24, 2014, Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri, voluntarily recalled Happy Apples brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25 and November 23, 2014. On December 31, 2014, Happy Apple Company expanded the recall to include Kroger brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company with a best use by date between September 15 and November 18, 2014. On December 27, 2014, California Snack Foods voluntarily recalled Karm’l Dapple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 15 and November 28, 2014. On December 29, 2014, Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, Missouri issued a voluntary recall of Merb’s Candies Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples that would have been available from September 8 through November 25, 2014.

William (Bill) Marler Named to National Law Journal’s First-Ever Top 50 Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers List

Food safety attorney William (Bill) Marler has been named to the first-ever list of the Top 50 Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers by the National Law Journal.

“I am deeply honored to have been nominated by my peers, let alone chosen among this prestigious list of amazing people,” said Marler. “I’ve never sought recognition or awards for what I do, but it is a true privilege when those I hold in such high esteem feel the same way about my work. Thank you so very much.”

Marler is best known for spearheading the 1994 precedent-setting class action lawsuit against fast food chain Jack in the Box for serving undercooked meat contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria. Four children died and hundreds of other victims fell ill. The case, which resulted in more than $50 million in individual and class action settlements, prompted Marler to start his own firm focused solely on food safety advocacy and litigation. Since 1998, Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has been directly involved with every major foodborne illness and outbreak. Most recently, the firm is representing the family of one victim who died in the caramel apple Listeria outbreak that hit the U.S. just last month.

Allergy Warning Raised for 2 Alarm Chili Kit

Reily Foods of Louisiana is recalling Carroll Shelby brand and Wick Fowler brand chili seasoning kits because they may contain peanut and almond allergens not declared on the label.

Anyone with an allergy to those two foods could have a serious allergic reaction if they eat these products.

The products are Carroll Shelby Chili Mix in 4 ounce packages, with UPC number 0-00-72396-10000-8 and Best by date range of July 1, 2016 – November 21, 2016. Also recalled are Carroll Shelby White Chicken Chili in 3 ounce packages, with UPC number 0-00-72396-10019-0 and best by date range of July 1, 2016 – December 8, 2016. Wick Fowler 2-Alarm Chili Kit is recalled, sold in 3.625 ounce packages with UPC number 0-00-71092-00069-8 and best by date range of July 1, 2016 – December 8 2016. Finally, Wick Fowler False Alarm Chili Kit in 3.03 ounce packages is recalled, with UPC number 0-00-71092-00111-4 and best by date range of September 2, 2016 – December 2, 2016. They were sold in retail stores nationwide.

Ingredients from a single supplier used in the products were contaminated with the allergens. If you purchased these products and are allergic to peanuts and almonds (tree nuts), do not eat them.

Hummus Recalled Over Undeclared Peanuts

Zilks Foods, LLC of Austin, TX is recalling all of its 8 ounce hummus products because they may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have allergies to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

This recall affects the following products.

The recalled hummus was distributed nationwide in retail stores.

The containers are clear plastic tubs with white lids. The brand name “Zilks” can be found on each tub on both the top and side labels.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

This recall was initiated after it was discovered that a spice ingredient from a single supplier used in the affected products was contaminated with peanut allergens.

Nut Allergy Prompts Whole Foods Cookie Recall in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada

Whole Foods Market is recalling its Assorted Cookie Platters, All Sizes for the presence of an undeclared nut allergens. The recalled cookie platters were sold in Whole Foods Market stores in Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii and Nevada in a round, clear plastic container with black plastic base and Whole Foods Market label beginning November 24, 2014, with the following PLUs:

PLU# 243868 – “Cookie Platter Small” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015
PLU# 243873 – “Cookie Platter Medium” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015
PLU# 247661 – “Cookie Platter Large” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015

One illness has been reported at this time. Signage is posted to notify customers of this recall, and all affected product has been removed from shelves. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to nuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.