Food safety law firm to sue Taco Bell

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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SEATTLE, Wash. – Marler Clark, a Seattle-based law firm that specializes in food safety litigation, announced a lawsuit against Taco Bell on behalf of an Oklahoma youngster who was hospitalized with Salmonella Enteritidis after eating food from Taco Bell.

The complaint, which was filed in Pottawatomie County District Court, states that a 9-year-old child and her mother ate at a Taco Bell in Shawnee, Okla. twice in October 2011. On Oct. 22, the child began to experience gastrointestinal problems that persisted after being treated by a pediatrician. The child was taken to an emergency room where a blood sample was taken that tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis. The child would eventually be hospitalized for three days. The complaint states that the child continued to experience symptoms related to her Salmonella infection for weeks after being discharged from the hospital.

The child’s parents spoke with officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Health who eventually linked her illness with the 2011 Taco Bell Salmonella outbreak.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis that involved 16 cases spread across five counties. Four people were hospitalized. Eight people said they had eaten at a Taco Bell restaurant. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said at the time that investigators were unable to identify a specific product as the cause of the outbreak that is believed to have begun in October 2011. The agency said evidence suggested that the Salmonella that contaminated food had been introduced during manufacturing or along the supply chain before the product was delivered to the chain’s establishments.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell issued a statement saying:

“The CDC has stated the public health is not at any risk, and this incident is completely over. They have not identified the food source of the food-borne illness that occurred in October and November of 2011. The CDC indicated that some of the people who were ill ate at Taco Bell, while others did not. They believe that the problem likely occurred at the supplier level before it was delivered to any restaurant or food outlet. We take food quality and safety very seriously.”

“Obviously, no restaurant wants to sicken its customers, but when an outbreak does occur the companies that sold the contaminated food are responsible — plain and simple,” said William Marler, the family’s attorney.

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