The family of a 10-month-old Troutdale, Oregon child filed a Salmonella lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions Tuesday, alleging that the child is one of over 107 people nationwide who became seriously ill with an antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to ground turkey produced by the food giant. The lawsuit was filed in Oregon Federal District Court in Portland by Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark.
According to the complaint, the child consumed ground turkey produced and distributed by Cargill as part of a spaghetti and meat balls dinner her father prepared in early June. By June 10, she had developed severe diarrhea and a very high fever. By June 15, following numerous visits to the doctor, the doctors determined that the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg had entered the child’s bloodstream, and she was rushed to Doerenbecher hospital, where she was treated for seven days.
The family’s attorney, Bill Marler, says Cargill owes it to the family to take responsibility for its actions. “Most of us cannot fathom the helplessness a parent feels watching as their 10-month-old fights it out with a life threatening illness,” said Marler, who has litigated numerous foodborne illness cases against Cargill. “No one expects to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday by blowing out the candles and wishing for no long lasting effects of foodborne illness.”
Since1993, Cargill– the largest privately held corporation in the U.S. in terms of revenue–has been responsible for at least 10 major foodborne illness outbreaks, which resulted in 366 illnesses, 10 deaths, and 3 stillbirths. Public health officials have thus far totaled 107 illnesses and at least one death that can be linked to the consumption of ground turkey produced by Cargill. As a result of the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak investigation, the company initiated the second largest meat recall in U.S. history, recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey for Salmonella contamination on July 29.
“The fact that a company with this type of track record gets to continue playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives ought to offend every one of us,” added Marler, who earlier this year resolved the case of Stephanie Smith, a Minnesota woman who became paralyzed after eating an E. coli-contaminated Cargill hamburger in 2007.