The family of a 10-month-old Troutdale, Oregon girl filed a lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions this week, alleging that the child is one of more than 107 people nationwide who became seriously ill with an antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to ground turkey produced by the food giant.
The lawsuit was filed in Oregon Federal District Court in Portland by Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark.
According to the complaint, the child ate Cargill ground turkey as part of a spaghetti and meatballs dinner her father prepared in early June. By June 10, she had developed severe diarrhea and a very high fever. By June 15, following numerous visits to the doctor, the doctors determined that the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg had entered the child’s bloodstream, and she was rushed to Doerenbecher hospital, where she was treated for seven days.
The family’s attorney, Bill Marler, says Cargill owes it to the family to take responsibility for its actions. “Since 1993, Cargill has been the source of contaminated meat implicated in at least 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 366 illnesses,” said Marler, who is publisher of Food Safety News. “Considering that these illnesses are likely undercounted by a factor of at least 20, those are significant numbers. What would we say if a car company or some other product manufacturer had the same numbers for an ongoing defect,?
Since1993, Cargill — the largest privately held corporation in the U.S. in terms of revenue — has been responsible for at least 10 major foodborne illness outbreaks, which resulted in 366 illnesses, 10 deaths, and 3 stillbirths.
Public health officials have thus far have attributed 107 illnesses and at least one death to the consumption of ground turkey produced by Cargill. On July 29, the company recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey, the largest Class I meat recall in U.S. history.