Listeria Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Contaminated Celery

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a man who allegedly died as a result of a listeria infection caused by contaminated celery. 

The food poisoning lawsuit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Antonio by the family of Hermillo Castellano. The complaint names Sangar Fresh Cut Produce LLC as a defendant, alleging that Castellano died on June 15 due to listeria after he ate celery that the company produced.

In October, the Texas health department ordered Sangar to shut down and recall all products shipped since January 2010. The state determined that conditions at the Sangar plant posed an “immediate and serious threat to human life or health” after testing revealed that their celery contained Listeria. The contamination was found during an investigation of a listeriosis outbreak that killed at least five people, including Castellano.

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Inspectors found sanitation problems at the plant and believed that the contaminated celery could have spread listeria to other Sangar products.

The Castellano lawsuit accuses the company of negligence due to its failure to follow proper food safety regulations and guidelines, leading to the outbreak. According to a report by United Press International, the lawsuit claims the company committed breach of implied warranty by distributing food that was not safe to eat.  

Listeria infections, also known as listeriosis, 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. The fatality rate associated with listeriosis is about 25%.

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.

Photo courtesy of apium via Flickr CC BY 2.0


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