Parents sue Whole Foods after son's death

by Erica Shaffer
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BRAINTREE, Mass. – Melissa and Andrew Kay whose 8-year-old son Joshua died after allegedly eating ground beef contaminated with E. coli according to a lawsuit filed against Whole Foods Market and Doniphan, Missouri-based Rain Crow Ranch, according to court documents. The couple is seeking unspecified damages.

The couple bought the grass-fed ground beef at a Whole Foods in South Weymouth, Mass., according to the lawsuit which was filed in US District Court in Boston. Two other individuals also became sick. On Aug. 15, Whole Foods Markets in South Weymouth and Newton, Mass. recalled 368 lbs. of ground-beef products on concerns of E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

Court documents state that traceback investigation indicated all three individuals consumed ground beef purchased from two Whole Foods locations before betting sick. Joshua Kaye was later admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital. He had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection. Joshua Kaye died on July 7.

“A stool sample taken from Joshua Kaye resulted in an E. coli 0157:H7 positive culture that identically matched the Whole Foods Market E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak strain,” court documents said.
 
A Whole Foods Market spokesman issued a statement saying: “Whole Foods Market joins the community in expressing our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Joshua Kaye’s family for their tragic loss. We cannot comment specifically on the facts of this pending litigation, but our thorough and ongoing investigation of the circumstances has not shown any clear link to our business. The safety of our customers is a top priority at Whole Foods Market, and always will be.”

Rain Crow Ranch said it was their understanding that testing conclusively established that the company’s meat was not contaminated with E. coli, according to news reports.

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