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PORTLAND, Ore. - The family of a 10-month-old Troutdale, Ore., child filed a Salmonella lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions Aug. 16, alleging that the child is one of more than 107 nationwide who became seriously ill with an antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to ground turkey produced by the food giant. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon here by Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark. (Lee, et al. v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., et al., No. 3:11cv993, D. Ore. [Portland]).
According to the complaint, the child consumed ground turkey produced and distributed by Cargill as part of a spaghetti and mea balls dinner her father prepared in early June. By June 10, she had developed severe diarrhea and a very high fever. By June 15, following numerous visits to the doctor, it was determined that the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg had entered the child's bloodstream, and she was rushed to Doerenbecher Children's Hospital, where she was treated for seven days.
The family's attorney, Bill Marler, says Cargill owes it to the family to take responsibility for its actions.
"Most of us cannot fathom the helplessness of watching as a 10-month-old fights it out with a life-threatening illness," said Marler, who has litigated numerous foodborne illness cases against Cargill. "No one expects to celebrate their daughter's first birthday by blowing out the candles and wishing for no long-lasting effects of Salmonella."
Since 1993, Cargill - the largest privately held corporation in the U.S. in terms of revenue - has been responsible for at least 10 major foodborne illness outbreaks, which resulted in 366 illnesses, 10 deaths, and 3 stillbirths, according to Marler Clark. Public health officials have thus far totaled 107 illnesses and at least one death that can be linked to the consumption of ground turkey produced by Cargill.
Marler earlier this year resolved the case of Stephanie Smith, a Minnesota woman who became paralyzed after eating an E. coli-contaminated Cargill hamburger in 2007.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman.
The plaintiffs are represented by Andrew Weisbecker of Marler Clark LLP in Seattle.
Click here to read or download the complaint.