On February 3, 2017, Underberg & Kessler LLP and Marler Clark LLP PS filed an action in New York Supreme Court, Monroe County against Golden Ponds Restaurant and Party House on behalf of Mary Fazio of Rochester, New York. This follows an action filed in early January on behalf of Natalie Woods. In both actions, it is alleged that on Thanksgiving Day 2016, Golden Ponds served its patrons food contaminated with the bacteria Clostridium Perfringens, which is toxic to humans and potentially fatal to the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. As widely reported, the Monroe County Department of Health closed Golden Ponds on November 25, 2016 after it discovered the food poisoning outbreak and linked it to the illnesses of approximately 260 people who dined at the restaurant.
Along with family and friends, Mary Fazio (who is 91 years old) ate at Golden Ponds on Thanksgiving Day 2016, was exposed to bacteria in her food, and soon thereafter fell ill. Her initial symptoms of nausea and severe cramping quickly progressed to bloody diarrhea requiring her hospitalization. Notwithstanding good medical care, her health continued to deteriorate. Surgeons were required to remove Ms. Fazio’s colon. It is expected she will be required to use a colostomy-bag appliance for the remainder of her life. She currently resides in a long-term health care facility where she continues to fight for her health.
Underberg & Kessler LLP and Marler Clark LLP PS have been contacted by approximately 50 persons who sustained a variety of injuries as a result of their consumption of contaminated food at Golden Ponds. They include three other individuals, like Ms. Fazio, who were hospitalized. Still, others missed work days, incurred medical expenses, or otherwise suffered painful symptoms from having eaten toxic food.
Referencing a similar Clostridium Perfringens outbreak in California last year where three persons died, attorney Paul Nunes of Underberg & Kessler said “We are exceedingly fortunate that no deaths resulted from the Golden Ponds food poisoning outbreak.”
“Everyone has the right to expect that the food served at a public restaurant is free of deadly pathogens. Food should be safe to eat. This is a terrible tragedy for Ms. Fazio and her family”, said Bill Marler of Marler Clark.
Underberg & Kessler and Marler Clark have been representing victims of food borne illness for almost 20 years. Notably, the firms prosecuted claims against the Brook Lea County Club following a salmonella outbreak at the club’s dining facilities. Bill Marler of Marler Clark is one of the world’s leading experts in food borne illness litigation and lectures world-wide on the topic.
Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans. Clostridium perfringens and its toxins are found everywhere in the environment, but human infection is most likely to come from eating food with Clostridium perfringens in it. Food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens fairly common, but is typically not too severe, and is often mistaken for the 24-hour flu.
The majority of outbreaks are associated with undercooked meats, often in large quantities of food prepared for a large group of people and left to sit out for long periods of time. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the “food service germ.” Meat products such as stews, casseroles, and gravy are the most common sources of illness from C. perfringens. Most outbreaks come from food whose temperature is poorly controlled. If food is kept between 70 and 140 F, it is likely to grow Clostridium perfringens bacteria.
People generally experience symptoms of Clostridium perfringens infection 6 to 24 hours after consuming the bacteria or toxins. Clostridium perfringens toxins cause abdominal pain and stomach cramps, followed by diarrhea. Nausea is also a common symptom. Fever and vomiting are not normally symptoms of poisoning by Clostridium perfringens toxins.
Illness from Clostridium perferingens generally lasts around 24 hours, and is rarely fatal.
The Type C strain of Clostridium perfringens can cause a more serious condition called Pig-bel Syndrome. This syndrome can cause death of intestinal cells and can often be fatal.
To prevent infection by Clostridium perfringens, follow the these tips:
- Cook foods containing meat thoroughly
- If keeping foods out, make sure they maintain a temperature of 140 F (60 C)
- When storing food in the refrigerator, divide it into pieces with a thickness of three inches or less so that it cools faster
- Reheat foods to at least 165 F (74 C)
“Clostridium perfringens.” Illinois Department of Public Health. Available at http://www.idph.state.il.us/Bioterrorism/factsheets/clostridium.htm.
Rohrs, Barbara. “Clostridium perfringens.” Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences. Available at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5568.html.
Great Lakes Smoked Meats, a Lorain, Ohio establishment, is recalling approximately 2,863 pounds of smoked salami product, which may have experienced temperature abuse and may contain Clostridium perfringens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The smoked salami was produced on Dec. 12, 2014 through Dec. 14, 2014. The following product are subject to recall:
Approximately 2.25-2.3 lb. vacuum-packed sticks of “SMOKEHOUSE DELI KARPATSKAYA SMOKED COOKED SALAMI”
The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “1029 SEOH” inside the Cooperative Interstate Shipment mark of inspection. This establishment is an Ohio state-inspected plant which participates in USDA’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program. Under CIS, state-inspected plants can operate as federally-inspected facilities, under specific conditions, and ship their product in interstate commerce and internationally. “Sell By” dates for the recalled product range from Mar. 16, 2015, to Mar. 19, 2015. The product was shipped to retail locations in California, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The problem was discovered by the establishment during an internal records review which showed the product had reached an unsafe temperature during the cooling process.
Clostridium perfringens is a type of bacteria that can be found in a variety of foods, particularly meats, meat products, and gravy. Emetic toxins produced by Clostridium perfringens bacteria are characterized by intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea which begin 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of those Clostridium perfringens bacteria capable of producing the toxin. The illness is usually over within 24 hours but less severe symptoms may persist in some individuals for 1 or 2 weeks.