Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Two California Residents Sickened By Salmonella Tainted Chia Seed Powder from Navitas Naturals

Marler Clark, the nation’s only law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness, has filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California on behalf of Edward Arbini and Sandra Moore, two California residents hospitalized with a Salmonella Newport infection linked to the nationwide recall of sprouted chia seed powder and sprouted chia/flax seed powder from Navitas Naturals©, the Superfood Company™. Co-counsel on the case is respected California attorneys Frederic Gordon and Richard Waite.

According to the CDC, as of June 9, 2014, a total of 21 people have fallen ill with salmonella infections that can be traced back to the consumption of chia seed powder. These individuals are from12 states, including California. This outbreak has triggered a nationwide product recall in the US and Canada, where another 52 people have become sickened with strains of salmonella.

Edward Arbini and Sandra Moore are two of those sickened with Salmonella Newport by the chia seed powder. They are both residents of Mountain Valley, Orange County, California. In 2008, Edward was diagnosed with throat cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange during his three tours of duty in Vietnam. After multiple surgeries, he had to relearn to talk and perform all tasks. Given only a 20 percent chance to live, Edward survived. As part of a healthy lifestyle, Edward began “juicing” with the help from his caregiver Sandra. She started using the defendants’ chia powder and chia seeds in the juices, which were administered to Edward through a G tube.

Edward became ill on or about March 5, 2014 after consuming the chia seed powder purchased at a local Whole Foods. The chia seed powder was manufactured and sold from Navitas Naturals and is subject to the recent recall. Soon after consuming the chia seed powder, Edward began suffering from severe abdominal cramping. He then had severe diarrhea, which worsened daily until he required hospitalization. He spent two miserable days at the hospital after which he was transported several times to different locations.

During all this time, Sandra became severely ill. Her symptoms were the same as Edward – extreme exhaustion, diarrhea, and cramps – but less severe. Because she could not care for Edward in her condition, Edward was forced to stay in a hotel and care for himself while she got better. The main symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Both Sandra and Edward have not yet fully recovered.

“Many people think that healthy foods are not susceptible to Salmonella outbreaks, but that is just not true,” 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. “Healthy foods are just as prone to Salmonella and E. coli as milk and eggs.”

Salmonella is transmitted by food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. Many animals carry Salmonella yet do not get sick. It can also be found in unpasteurized egg and milk products. It is commonly transmitted via the fecal-oral route, from one infected person to another. Symptoms (which develop 6 to 72 hours after infection) may be mild and a person can continue to carry Salmonella for weeks after symptoms have subsided.

The best ways to prevent the spread of this illness are to avoid preparing food for others while ill, thoroughly cooking meat and egg products, not consuming unpasteurized eggs and milk products, and washing hands, especially after using the bathroom and before handling or preparing food.

About Marler Clark

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections 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 E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.