Andrew & Williamson, the San Diego-based company linked to a Salmonella Poona outbreak that has sickened 558 people and killed three, recently announced that it intends to donate to a STOP Foodborne Illness campaign to educate emergency room doctors about foodborne illness.
David Murray, a partner at Andrew & Williamson, said in a statement that everyone at the company is “absolutely devastated by the three deaths and illnesses.”
In reading about the illnesses, Murray said he’d learned about the need to provide doctors with additional guidance about foodborne illness and that this prompted the decision to donate to the STOP Food Illness project of creating an education packet to send to every pediatric ER and hospital in the U.S.
“While we were surprised to hear about the contribution, we are appreciative and will put the gift to good use,” said the group’s CEO, Deirdre Schlunegger.
She also told Food Safety News that the organization has not yet received the donation and is unsure of the amount.
“Many times people with foodborne illness are told it is a stomach flu and sent home even when they go to the emergency department with bloody diarrhea,” Schlunegger said of the need for more education. “We hope to create greater awareness for the need and urgency of testing.”
“While we recognize that our actions cannot alleviate the pain caused by a victim’s suffering or worse, the loss of a loved one, the A&W family promises you that we will learn from this experience,” Murray’s statement continued, adding, “When we find the problem, we will fix it and take every step possible to keep it from happening again.”
He also encouraged other produce companies to donate to the STOP Foodborne Illness campaign.
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