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Wisconsin Family Sues Supermercado Over Salmonella Illnesses

A Kenosha, WI, family has sued the local Supermercado Los Corrales store whose pork sales are now thought to be responsible for a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 60 people.

Kenneth and Melissa Vela, on behalf of themselves and their three children (Andrew, Elizabeth and Jacob), electronically filed their lawsuit Wednesday against the Supermercado’s corporate parent, Los Corrales Enterprises LLC, and its insurance carrier in the Kenosha County Branch of Wisconsin’s Circuit Court.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-salmonella-food-poisoning-concept-awareness-prevention-image33467602According to the complaint, the Velas purchased pork carnitas at the Supermercado in Kenosha on May 9, 2015, and consumed them the same day. Within 24 hours, they state that they became ill with vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, body pain, and other symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection.

Over the next two days, the illnesses worsened and the children were taken to St. Catherine’s Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.

“A stool sample obtained from Jacob ultimately tested positive for Salmonella,” the lawsuit states. The Salmonella strain was consistent with the outbreak serotype.

The Vela family has required followup care and, as of May 25, was not fully recovered. They continued to suffer from abdominal pain and discomfort, loose stools, headaches and body aches “all attributable to consumption of the pork carnitas that caused Salmonella infections,” according to the complaint.

In addition, the lawsuit states that so far Salmonella with the matching DNA fingerprint has been found in five case patients, and that additional stool samples are being tested and the number of confirmed cases will likely increase.

The plaintiffs have asked for unspecified damages and a jury trial.

The Kenosha County Department of Health has been investigating the outbreak since shortly after reports of illnesses began coming in linked to food purchased at the Supermercado over Mother’s Day weekend (May 9-10, 2015).

Denis W. Sterns, the Seattle-based food safety attorney representing the Vela family, said that the source of the outbreak “appears to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales.” He noted that the meat and food preparation area at the Supermercado is temporarily closed for the ongoing investigation.

(Sterns is a partner with Marler Clark LLC, that food safety law firm that underwrites Food Safety News.)

Salmonella is an enteric bacterium, which means that it lives in the intestinal tracts of human and other animals. It is transmitted to humans by foods contaminated with human or animal feces. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, including feel, pork, poultry, milk or eggs.

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