Lawsuit Filed Over Ground Turkey Food Poisoning Suffered by Toddler

A food poisoning lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a toddler who fell ill after eating ground turkey that was allegedly contaminated with the same strain of salmonella that has been linked to more than a hundred sicknesses throughout the country. 

Melissa Lee and Brandon Mullen-Bagby filed the ground turkey lawsuit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on behalf of their daughter, Ruby Jane Lee.

The complaint was brought against Cargill Meat Solutions Corp, which issued a ground turkey recall earlier this month amid a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to at least 107 cases food poisoning, including one death.

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According to the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Bill Marler, Lee ate contaminated ground turkey distributed by Cargill as part of a spaghetti and meat balls meal in early June and began suffering diarrhea. The child, who was 10 months old at the time, was rushed to a hospital after her temperature hit 102.5 degrees. She was hospitalized for seven days and was later diagnosed as suffering from an infection caused the same strain of Salmonella Heidelberg that has been linked to the Cargill ground turkey.

The personal injury lawsuit charges Cargill with strict liability, breach of warranty and negligence and seeks damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, emotional distress, lost wages on behalf of the parents and other damages.

The Cargill ground turkey recall was announced on August 3, 2011, impacting 36 million pounds of meat produced at the company’s Springdale, Arkansas plant. The recall came after state and federal health inspectors tracked a nationwide salmonella outbreak to the plant’s ground turkey.

The cause of the contamination is still under investigation, and Cargill announced that it was suspending ground turkey production at the Springdale plant until the source can be determined. The plant is one of four Cargill turkey production facilities in the United States. Products from the other three plants are unaffected by the recall.

Salmonella food poisoning attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe symptoms. For most healthy adults, problems associated with 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.


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