A salmonella food poisoning lawsuit has been filed against DeFuscos Bakery Inc., a Rhode Island bakery whose pastries have been linked to dozens of illnesses across New England.
The complaint (pdf) was scheduled to be filed today in Rhode Island court by Erin Carrera, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Carrera is the parent of an unidentified minor who tested positive for salmonella after eating two zeppoles in mid-March that were made by DeFusco’s Bakery
Rhode Island health officials have indicated that at least 56 people have fallen ill after eating contaminated DeFusco’s zeppoles. At least 26 of those people required hospitalization and there has also been one death involving a man in his 80s that may be linked to the salmonella outbreak.
Carrera’s child suffered gastrointestinal illness that included abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever and is reportedly still recovering. The minor’s salmonella poisoning was confirmed by a local hospital after the symptoms became severe enough that Carrera sought medical attention.
On March 25, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced a DeFusco’s Bakery zeppoles recall. Officials say the pastry shells used to make the zeppoles were stored in egg crates and most likely came into contact with raw eggs. DeFusco’s has voluntarily shut down for the time being, but it had already sold its zeppoles to other bakeries.
Besides being sold at all DeFusco’s stores, the contaminated zeppoles were also sold to American Bakery Supplies, a West Warwick-based distributor. American Bakery Supplies sold the pastries to Roch’s Market in West Warwick; Meal Works in Coventry and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. DeFusco’s zeppoles were also sold at Crugnale Bakery, Colvitto’s Bistro, Sal’s Bakery, and Focaccia World.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.
The Defusco’s food poisoning lawsuit charges the bakery with strict liability, breach of warranty and negligence and seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory damages.