William Marler, attorney for victims of the recent Salmonella outbreak traced to contaminated peanut and other nut butter products manufactured by Sunland, Inc., called on the company today to pay all outbreak victims’ out-of-pocket medical costs and lost wages for missed time off work to care for themselves or family members suffering from Salmonella infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 41 people from 20 states are part of the outbreak linked to Sunland products.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released records showing that between 2009 and 2012 Sunland distributed multiple lots of peanut butter and nut butters that had tested positive for Salmonella by the firm’s internal testing program. During its most recent inspection, conducted between September 17 and October 16, 2012, 10 serotypes of Salmonella were isolated at the Sunland plant, including Salmonella Bredeney, the serotype isolated from outbreak victims and peanut and other nut butter products.
“After reading the inspection reports, it appears that Sunland was betting on not getting caught with Salmonella in its products,” said Marler. “The company lost that bet, and now it’s time to pay.”
Marler noted that several of his clients were hospitalized due to the severity of their Salmonella infections. “Even for people with health insurance, medical bills can be a financial strain. Parents miss time off of work to care for their children, husbands and wives take time off to care for one another. Sunland’s failure to produce a safe product impacted not only their physical health but also their financial health. The company should make an effort to restore its customers’ financial health as soon as possible.”
Yesterday, Marler called on Congressional leaders to conduct an investigation into this latest peanut-related Salmonella outbreak after learning that FDA inspection reports show that Salmonella was isolated in the Sunland plant as far back as 2007.
“It really is a matter of not just my clients’ personal health and wellbeing, but about the public’s health. We spend taxpayer money on Salmonella outbreak investigations. Sunland should also reimburse local health departments for the costs incurred while investigating this outbreak,” Marler concluded.