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Lawsuit Filed in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Unpasteurized Tempeh

The first lawsuit has been filed against the North Carolina tempeh producer and the online spore culture retailer responsible for a Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 89 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and New York earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed jointly by Asheville, NC law firm Roberts & Stevens and food safety law firm Marler Clark, which underwrites Food Safety News. The firms represent a Florida woman who was hospitalized after eating contaminated Smiling Hara tempeh on March 19 during a vacation to Asheville.

Asheville-based Smiling Hara made its unpasteurized tempeh using starter culture contaminated with Salmonella Paratyphi B from Maryland online retailer Tempeh Online. Public health officials in Buncombe County named Smiling Hara tempeh as the source of the outbreak on May 4.

The plaintiff, Mary Ann Hurtado, a registered nurse, began feeling ill approximately two days after eating the tempeh. She returned home on March 24 as her symptoms worsened to the point where she could barely walk. She was admitted to the hospital the next day for three days of treatment, where she eventually tested positive for the Salmonella strain linked to the outbreak.

Read the full complaint here.

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