A Fort Wayne, Texas, woman has filed a lawsuit against ConAgra Foods, claiming that she fell ill with a salmonella infection after eating their peanut butter. The 76-year-old woman, Mildred Turner, said in her lawsuit that she bought the tainted Peter Pan peanut butter in November 2006, the same batch of peanut butter that had sickened at least 625 people in 47 states, including California. Our source for this blog is a news report in The Journal Gazette.
Nebraska-based ConAgra recalled all of its Peter Pan and Wal-Mart Great Value brands of peanut butter in February 2007. These products were packaged at ConAgra’s Georgia plant. The peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria, which was later linked to moisture caused by a leaky roof at the plant. Turner experienced all of the symptoms of salmonella poisoning such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, abdominal pain and dehydration, according to court documents. Turner’s case is also an example of how salmonella poisoning could have a potentially deadly effect on the elderly. She nearly died during her two-month stay in a hospital, her lawsuit claims.
Turner is suing ConAgra for negligence and “strict liability.” In tort law, strict liability is the imposition of liability on a party without a finding of fault. The plaintiff only needs to prove that the damage or loss occurred and the defendant was responsible.
Salmonella poisoning is probably the most horrible and deadly food-borne illness. It could take months or even years for the infection to completely go away. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. My firm recently successfully represented a client who suffered from salmonella poisoning after eating raw quail egg at an Orange County sushi restaurant. He suffered severe symptoms and was hospitalized for an extended period of time just like Turner. I sincerely hope ConAgra settles with Turner and hundreds of other victims who endured food-borne illness as a result of ConAgra’s negligence and poor quality control systems.