The first lawsuit has been filed in the Daniele International, Inc. recall of 1,240,000 pounds of sausage products due to potential Salmonella contamination. The claim was filed on behalf of an Illinois family by Marler Clark, the Seattle-based food safety law firm, and by Gary Newman of the Illinois firm Newland, Newland, & Newland.

On January 23, 2010, Daniele voluntarily recalled a variety of its pepper-coated salame/salami products after learning the meat was potentially linked to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella. Unfortunately, the recall failed to contain the spread of Salmonella bacteria.

In late December, Jason and Molly Keppler purchased Daniele pepper-coated salami at a Costco in Lake Zurich, Illinois. A few days after eating the now-recalled product, Molly began to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Although she did not require hospitalization, her 3-month-old son, “MK,” fell ill several days later with similar symptoms.

On January 11, 2010, MK began to show signs of extreme discomfort and illness. He began to run a mild fever and suffered several bouts of diarrhea. 

After watching their son’s illness persist over night, the Kepplers took MK to see his pediatrician on January 12.  After a short examination, the Kepplers were sent home, only to watch their son’s symptoms severely worsen.  His fever grew to over 104 F°, and by late afternoon, his nonstop diarrhea had become bloody.

Over the course of the hour following onset of his bloody diarrhea, the bouts continued at a rate of one every five to ten minutes.  Frightened, Mr. and Mrs. Keppler paged MK’s pediatrician, who advised them to rush him to the emergency department at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

At triage in the emergency department, MK immediately saw a physician, who ordered multiple diagnostic tests, including tests of a stool sample from MK. 

During the course of MK’s several hour stay at the emergency department, nurses drew blood and had to hold him down to insert an intravenous line into his hand to correct his severe dehydration.  Nurses also secured other bodily fluids for testing for a variety of viruses and bacteria.

The Kepplers were discharged a day later, but their son’s bloody diarrhea persisted. He was seen twice more by his pediatrician for treatment of severe gastrointestinal illness.

Finally, on January 14, the pediatrician called and informed the Kepplers that their son had tested positive for Salmonella.

As of January 26, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified at least 189 people in 40 states who it believes have been sickened with Salmonella Montevideo as a result of possibly consuming Daniele’s products. Among the persons with reported dates available, illnesses began between July 4, 2009 and January 7, 2010.