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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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The Last Salmonella Tuna Outbreak Sickened 425

 

072612-mapIn 2012 a total of 425 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (410 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (15 persons) were reported from 28 states and the District of Columbia,

55 ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

 

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies linked this outbreak to a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation.

Timeline of Events: Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga Infections Associated with a Raw Scraped Ground Tuna Product—United States, 2012.

Consumers should not eat the recalled product, and retailers should not serve the recalled raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.

 

Kenosha County Salmonella Outbreak Update: Over 60 Sick

The Kenosha County Division of Health continues to interview individuals with gastrointestinal illness and exposure to Supermercado Los Corrales. As of this time, more than 60 ill persons have been identified.

To date, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in five case patients. Additional stool samples are currently being tested and the number of confirmed cases is expected to increase as those results become available.

Based on the interviews that have been conducted, the source of the outbreak appears to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales. Testing of food from Supermercado Los Corrales is currently in progress.

The meat and food preparation area of Supermercado Los Corrales is temporarily closed while the investigation is ongoing, but the remainder of the establishment is open.

Tips for preventing Salmonella:
• Wash hands with soap before and after food preparation, and before eating.
• Wash kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
• Always treat raw eggs, poultry, beef and pork as if they are contaminated and handle accordingly.

For more information or, please call the Kenosha County Division of Health at (262) 605-6700, (800) 472-8008, or visit www.kenoshacounty.org.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Salmonella Sushi Sickens 53 in 9 States

mapCDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections. The investigation has not conclusively identified the source of this outbreak, but most ill people interviewed reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill. The investigation is ongoing and has not identified a common brand or supplier of raw tuna linked to illnesses.

This outbreak is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) bacteria. The illness caused by this bacteria typically includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after being exposed. Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) does not cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA “fingerprinting” is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using a technique called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE. PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. This PFGE pattern has never been seen before in the PulseNet database.

As of May 21, 2015, a total of 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) have been reported from 9 states. Most of the ill people have been reported from the southwestern United States, or reported travel to this part of the country in the week before they became ill. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Arizona (10), California (31), Illinois (1), Mississippi (1), New Mexico (6), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1).

Illness onset dates range from March 5, 2015 to May 3, 2015. Ill people range in age from younger than 1 to 83 with a median age of 31, and 47% are female. Among 46 people with available information, 10 (22%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak Hits More Than 60 In Kenosha

flag250Jon Brines of the Kenosha News reports that he number of cases of Salmonella exposure has now tripled.

More than 60 people have been identified with gastrointestinal illness in connection with Supermercado Los Corrales grocery store, 3933 52nd St., according to the Kenosha County Division of Health.

Salmonella, with a matching DNA fingerprint, has been found in two cases, with testing ongoing.

While the source of the outbreak is still under investigation, the grocery store is the focus of the probe.

“We’re investigating, so we are really trying to give the state the most accurate numbers, but it is still so fluid at this point,” said Gwynn Perry-Brye, clinical services director for the Kenosha County Division of Health.

Kenosha resident Diana Koeppel said her son-in-law and 3-year-old grandson started getting stomach problems May 11 after a buying pre-cooked carnitas and rice at the store on Mother’s Day. The rest of the family didn’t have any of the suspected pork.

“They eventually went to the emergency room,” Koeppel said. “My daughter was taking care of both of them and kept her two older girls away.”

The family’s leftover food and stool samples were taken for testing.

The hardest part for Koeppel was trying to get the youngest of the sick through it.

“At 3, he didn’t understand. He just cried and said, ‘Mommy no,’” Koeppel said. “I just started crying. The baby could die from it. I was very concerned about it.”

Koeppel said he’s doing better.

“My grandson just had his first meal yesterday. Before that he could barely stomach the liquids,” Koeppel said.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

ConAgra fined $11,200,000 for misdemeanor violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

ConAgra Grocery Products LLC, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods Inc., today agreed to plead guilty and pay $11.2 million in connection with the shipment of contaminated peanut butter linked to a 2006 through 2007 nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis, or salmonella poisoning, the Department of Justice announced today.  ConAgra Grocery Products LLC is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with a manufacturing facility in Sylvester, Georgia.

Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia announced the filing of a criminal information against ConAgra Grocery Products alleging a misdemeanor violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.  The company signed a plea agreement admitting that it introduced Peter Pan and private label peanut butter contaminated with salmonella into interstate commerce during the 2006 through 2007 outbreak.  The plea agreement provides that ConAgra Grocery Products will pay a criminal fine of $8 million and forfeit assets of $3.2 million.  The criminal fine is the largest ever paid in a food safety case.

“As parents, we can make sure that our kids look both ways before they cross the street and wear a helmet when they ride their bikes,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Delery.  “But we have to rely on the companies that make their food to make sure it is safe.  That’s why the Department of Justice is dedicated to using all the tools we have to ensure the processors and handlers of our food live up to their legal obligations to keep the public’s safety in mind.”

“The safety of the nation’s food supply is a top concern, and every company, large and small, must take appropriate measures to ensure that their products don’t make customers sick,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer.  “No company can let down its guard when it comes to these kinds of microbiological contaminants.  salmonellosis is a serious condition, and a food like peanut butter can deliver it straight to children and other vulnerable populations.”

In February 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that an ongoing outbreak of salmonellosis cases in the United States could be traced to Peter Pan and private label peanut butter produced and shipped from the company’s Sylvester peanut butter plant.  The company voluntarily terminated production at the plant on Feb. 14, 2007, and recalled all peanut butter manufactured there since January 2004.  The CDC eventually identified more than 700 cases of salmonellosis linked to the outbreak with illness onset dates beginning in August 2006.  The CDC estimated that thousands of additional related cases went unreported.  The CDC did not identify any deaths related to the outbreak.

The criminal information, filed in the Middle District of Georgia, specifically alleges that on or about Dec. 7, 2006, the company shipped from Georgia to Texas peanut butter that was adulterated, in that it contained salmonella and had been prepared under conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with salmonella.  The company admitted in the plea agreement that samples obtained after the recall showed that peanut butter made at the Sylvester plant on nine different dates between Aug. 4, 2006, and Jan. 29, 2007, was contaminated with salmonella.  Environmental testing conducted after the recall identified the same strain of salmonella in at least nine locations throughout the Sylvester plant.

“We, as consumers, take for granted that the food we feed our families is safe,” said U.S. Attorney Moore.  “We count on the companies who prepare and package the things we eat to be just as concerned with the product we put in our mouths as they are with the profit they put in their pockets.  The proposed criminal fine and sentence in this case should sound the alarm to food companies across the country – we are watching, and we are expecting you to hold yourselves to a standard reflective of the trust that your consumers have placed in you.  No more excuses.  A lot of people got very sick because of the conduct in this case and we are committed to doing all we can to make sure that does not happen again.”

As part of the plea agreement, the company admitted that it had previously been aware of some risk of salmonella contamination in peanut butter.  On two dates in October 2004, routine testing at the Sylvester plant revealed what later was confirmed to be salmonella in samples of finished peanut butter.  Company employees attempting to locate the cause of the contamination identified several potential contributing factors, including an old peanut roaster that was not uniformly heating raw peanuts, a storm-damaged sugar silo, and a leaky roof that allowed moisture into the plant and airflow that could allow potential contaminants to move around the plant.  As stated in the plea agreement, while efforts to address some of these issues had occurred or were underway, the company did not fully correct these conditions until after the 2006 through 2007 outbreak.  In public statements after the 2007 recall, company officials hypothesized that moisture entered the production process and enabled the growth of salmonella present in the raw peanuts or peanut dust.

The company also admitted in the plea agreement that between October 2004 and February 2007, employees charged with analyzing finished product tests at the Sylvester plant failed to detect salmonella in the peanut butter, and that the company was unaware some of the employees did not know how to properly interpret the results of the tests.

“U.S. consumers expect and deserve the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff of the FDA.  “Today’s plea agreement reflects the FDA’s commitment to ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply and demonstrates that those who risk the health of Americans will be held accountable.”

Following the outbreak and shutdown, the company made significant upgrades to the Sylvester plant to address conditions the company identified after the 2004 incident as potential factors that could contribute to salmonella contamination.  The company also instituted new and enhanced safety protocols and procedures regarding manufacturing, testing and sanitation, which it affirmed in the plea agreement it would continue to follow.

Information about the case and any upcoming court hearings can be found on the Justice Department’s website in the “Food and Dietary Supplements” section.  The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Georgia and the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.  This matter was investigated by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

The proposed plea agreement and recommended sentence is not final until accepted by the U.S. District Court.

Health advisory: E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Whatcom County, Washington

The Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections.

The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention are assisting with the investigation.

Disease investigators are now calculating case counts based on lab-confirmed infection with E. coli O157:H7 and physician-diagnosed cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

As of 2:00 PM PDT May 15:

  • Twenty-two people are confirmed cases.
  • No one has died.
  • Ten people have been hospitalized.
  • Four people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
  • Illnesses in several other people are under investigation.
  • The investigation includes collecting several environmental samples from the venue for analysis.

Test results show at least one sample is a match for the outbreak strain.

All of the ill people attended the Milk Makers Fest between April 21 and 23 at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden; helped with the event between April 20 and 24; or were close contacts of ill people associated with the event.

Most of the ill people are children, including older children who helped with the event.

Marler Clark Hired in Don Antonio’s Salmonella Outbreak

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 7.39.23 PMSalmonella Outbreak:

After dozens or more reports on Yelp of patrons contracting Salmonella poisoning at Don Antonio’s in Los Angeles, on March 25, 2015, environmental health staff at the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health conducted an on-site inspection at Don Antonio’s. The inspection was conducted with the owner of Don Antonio’s, Esteban Castellanos.

During the inspection, multiple food safety violations were noted, including: (1) the unavailability of thermometers suitable for measuring temperature of food, and for monitoring the temperature of the water at the warewashing machine and sink; (2) inadequate ventilation and lighting; (3) improper use and storage of wiping cloths used to wipe service counters, scales, and other surfaces that food may come into contact with; (4) unapproved equipment and utensils; (5) potentially hazardous food stored at improper holding temperatures; and (6) improperly sanitized food contact surface issues.

At the conclusion of the inspection, each issue and risk factor contributing to foodborne illness were discussed. The restaurant manager was advised of the violations and instructed to correct all violations immediately. The inspection report was reviewed and signed by Esteban Castellanos and a copy of the report was left with him at the end of the inspection.

Salmonella Infections:

Salmonella is an enteric bacterium, which means that it lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. Salmonella bacteria are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with human or animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs, but all foods, including vegetables, may become contaminated. An infected food handler who neglects to wash his or her hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom may also contaminate food.

Once in the lumen of the small intestine, the bacteria penetrate the epithelium, multiply, and enter the blood within 24 to 72 hours. As few as 15-20 cells of Salmonella bacteria can cause salmonellosis or a more serious typhoid-like fever. Variables such as the health and age of the host, and virulence differences among the serotypes, affect the nature and extent of the illness. Infants, elderly, hospitalized, and immune suppressed persons are the populations that are the most susceptible to disease, and suffer the most severe symptoms.

The acute symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea and mucous over a period of days. There is no real cure for Salmonella infection, except treatment of the symptoms. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids.

Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons who are infected with Salmonella will go on to develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter’s syndrome and/or reactive arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat. Antibiotic treatment does not make a difference in whether or not the person later develops arthritis.

Salmonella:

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Marler Clark Retained in Kenosha Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak

The Kenosha County Division of Health is currently investigating an outbreak of Salmonella in the community after receiving several reports of cases in the county. The Division of Health is investigating food purchased over Mother’s Day weekend (May 9-10, 2015) at Supermercado Los Corrales (3933 52nd Street, Kenosha 53144) in Kenosha County as a possible source of the outbreak. As of today, the source of the outbreak has not been confirmed. The Division of Health is currently working with the facility. The meat and food preparation area of the Supermercado is temporarily closed while the investigation is ongoing, but the remainder of the establishment is open.

The investigation began on May 15, 2015 when the Division of Health staff received positive Salmonella lab reports. Interviews with ill individuals are being conducted and laboratory testing is currently underway.

Salmonellosis is an illness with variable severity. People infected with Salmonella bacteria may experience the following symptoms:
• Diarrhea
• Fever
• Abdominal pain
• Nausea
• Vomiting

The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most persons recover without treatment. Bloodstream infections are infrequent but can be quite serious, particularly in the very young or elderly. Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms listed above for more than 4 days should contact their health care provider.

Salmonella bacteria are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Food may also become contaminated by the hands of an infected food handler who did not wash hands with soap after using the bathroom. The illness is passed from the feces of people or animals to other people or animals. Salmonella is identified through laboratory testing of the stool of an infected person.

Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Kenosha Los Corrales Possible Link in Wisconsin Salmonella Outbreak

Los-CorralesChristina Palladino of WISN News reports that Kenosha County and Wisconsin health officials are investigating a recent outbreak of Salmonella. More than 20 people have become ill from Salmonella, said Mark Melotick, the environmental manager for the Kenosha County Health Department.

Ms. Palladino spoke with said they had one thing in common – they all ate meat from the same store. Amanda Acosta and her boyfriend, Nick Jacquest, said they ordered pork carnitas from Los Corrales supermarket on May 10. The next day, they were all extremely ill.

“We all had fevers and it lasted all week, and then we went to the hospital with the kids. It just got pretty bad,” Jacquest said. Acosta and her boyfriend both had to take a week off from work to care for their sick kids, who were violently throwing up and had diarrhea. “It’s scary because so many things could happen to small children from this,” Acosta said.

Kenosha resident Michael Brown told her he also had the pork carnitas on May 10 with his family. They all got sick the next day. He was deathly ill for a week. “I only have one kidney, and they said it was elevated or something. A very dangerous high they said,” Brown said.

Both families said they’ve been shopping at the grocery store for years and have never been sick.

Palladino went inside the store Monday night and said the meat counter was completely empty.

The Kenosha County Health Department continues to investigate the source of the Salmonella and said more information will be available Tuesday morning.

Most people experience symptoms eight to 72 hours after contaminated food is ingested. Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and cramps. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Nine State Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) Outbreak Sickens 50

Food Safety News reports today that at least 50 people in the southwestern U.S. have been sickened with a rare strain of Salmonella that has been associated with consumption of raw tuna sushi in several states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC said Monday that the agency is working with public health officials in nine states to investigate what it is now calling a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+).

The three main states known to be involved in the outbreak are California (29 cases from 6 counties as of May 15), Arizona (9 cases), and New Mexico (6 cases). A CDC spokesperson told Food Safety News that patients from the other six states traveled to the southwest, where they were most likely exposed to the outbreak strain.

Health officials in California, Arizona and New Mexico have said that many of the cases were connected to consumption of raw minced or ground tuna used in sushi.

The CDC spokesperson said that while many of the patients reported eating sushi, “the investigation has not conclusively identified a food source.”

Local and state health officials are continuing to interview patients to gather more information on the foods they ate in the week prior to their illnesses. Ten of 43 patients interviewed (23 percent) have been hospitalized.

Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in Phoenix, said in a statement released on Friday that there were multiple restaurants involved in the outbreak.

“That is strong evidence that the contamination is occurring before it gets to the restaurant,” England said.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella does not cause typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, CDC noted.

Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.