Cantaloupe Recall Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Kansas Family

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of an elderly Kansas man who died from listeria food poisoning complications after eating recalled cantaloupe last year. 

The son of Paul A. Schwarz filed a product liability claim against Jensen Farms and distributor Frontera Produce following his death on December 18.

The 92 year-old Schwarz is one of nearly 150 known victims who fell ill after eating contaminated Jensen Farms cantaloupe last fall. Schwarz spent more than a month in the hospital before being transferred to a nursing home before his death.

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The recalled cantaloupes have been linked to at least 31 deaths, making it the deadliest food poisoning outbreak since 1924.

Jensen Farms, the grower, issued a cantaloupe recall on September 14, and subsequent FDA inspections found unsanitary conditions at the company’s Colorado processing plant.

A number of food poisoning lawsuits have been filed by people who fell ill after eating the cantaloupes and by family members of some of the deceased.

While one of the rarer forms of food poisoning, listeria is one of the more dangerous. It frequently results in hospitalization and about a quarter of those who contract the illness die from the infection.

Listeria illnesses pose a particular risk for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. For pregnant women, illness from Listeria bacteria can cause miscarriages and still births.

Blood tests are usually required to diagnose listeriosis, which can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of listeriosis include muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, severe headaches and fever. If the bacteria spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream and nervous system, it could cause meningitis and other complications.

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