Salmonella had a busy week in the news. AP announced that “Iowa egg producer reaches batch of settlements to compensate salmonella victims.”
Dozens of people sickened last year after eating salmonella-tainted eggs will receive compensation, including six-figure checks for two children, in the first wave of legal settlements with the Iowa egg producer blamed in the outbreak, attorneys in the case have told The Associated Press.
Wright County Egg, owned by egg magnate Jack DeCoster, reached financial settlements with roughly 40 salmonella victims during a Sept. 14 mediation conference in Minneapolis, both sides confirmed. The financial payouts are coming from Selective Insurance, the company’s insurer.
“In short, the Wright County Egg facility was a major salmonella outbreak waiting to happen,” Seattle attorney Bill Marler wrote in demand letters seeking compensation from the company. “Our clients were among those sickened when the outbreak did, in fact, come to fruition.”
Shortly after the announcement of the settlements, Phil Brasher of the Des Moines Register wrote “DeCosters to cease egg production.”
The DeCoster family, whose farms were linked to a 2010 salmonella outbreak that brought national attention to the family’s deeply stained record in the food business, is getting out of the production of eggs.
Austin “Jack” DeCoster is leasing out farms he owns in Maine as well as those in Iowa, the ones responsible for the outbreak and nationwide egg recall last year, said a lawyer for the family, Jan Kramer. DeCoster’s son, Peter, who managed the Iowa farms, is no longer involved in the businesses either, she said.
As for Pine Nuts, the Rochester Press Democrat had two stories of lawsuits filed against the supplier of the tainted nuts. Patti Singer wrote “Webster woman files lawsuit against distributor of pine nuts.”
A Webster mother has filed the second lawsuit against the distributor of bulk Turkish pine nuts that tested positive for a strain of salmonella responsible for a multistate outbreak.
Kimberly Waterbury filed suit Tuesday in federal court on behalf of herself and her minor child against American Pistachio Commodity Corp., which does business as Sunrise Commodities of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
The suit claims that Sunrise Commodities was strictly liable for the contaminated product. The suit also claims the company was negligent for not using reasonable care in the manufacture, distribution and sale of the product, and for violating federal, state and/or local food safety regulations. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
Last Thursday, Sean McGuirk of Perinton filed a lawsuit. The 20-year-old became ill on or about Aug. 28 after eating a meal. He was hospitalized for three days.
The final story of Salmonella week is still yet to be written – at least related to lawsuits – JoNel Aleccia wrote “Tainted chicken livers sicken nearly 170 with salmonella.” More on that next week.