A Bristol County, Massachusetts mother filed suit Monday against the Rhode Island bakery whose zeppole have been determined to be the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens.

The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Providence by Seattle food-safety law firm Marler Clark and Cooley Manion Jones, a Boston-based law firm, on behalf of the mother and her teenage son.    


According to the claim, the plaintiff purchased zeppole at DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston, RI on March 18, 2011.  Her son ate two of the pastries, one on March 18 and one on March 19, 2011.  The child fell ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection, including abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever on March 19.  His symptoms worsened over the next several days, and he required medical care on March 25.  A stool specimen submitted for testing was returned positive for Salmonella. 


“As a lot of Rhode Islanders and Massachusetts residents found out during this outbreak, Salmonella infections are more than just a tummy ache,” said attorney Bill Marler, who represents the family.  “Our client has still not fully recovered from his illness.”


During their investigation into the Salmonella outbreak, Rhode Island Department of Health investigators found that cardboard egg crates used by the bakery to store empty pastry shells were contaminated with Salmonella.  The health department investigation into the DeFusco’s Salmonella outbreak has revealed 60 suspected cases of Salmonella linked to the consumption of bakery products, including zeppole. As of Tuesday, 27 people have been hospitalized and one person died. 


“The health department findings show health code violations that are a reflection of a seemingly cavalier attitude by DeFusco’s toward the health and safety of its customers,” Marler continued.  “Especially after last summer’s nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs, DeFusco’s workers should have known better than to use egg crates for storage of finished bakery products.”