US food safety lawyers file lawsuit in fresh peach Salmonella outbreak
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a four-year-old girl in federal court for the District of Minnesota after a severe infection led to “hospitalisation and significant injuries”.
Lawyers at OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers have filed a lawsuit arising out of the multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to fresh peaches from Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company LLC, a Fresno, California-based peach processor.
The outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis has sickened at least 78 people in 12 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Minnesota Department of Health reported that 23 Minnesotans have tested positive for this strain of Salmonella in recent weeks.
Though Minnesota has reported the highest number of infections, public health authorities in Michigan, Iowa, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia have also reported multiple confirmed cases of Salmonella associated with the Wawona peaches.
Both Aldi and Prima Wawona have recalled the peaches implicated in the outbreak. The peaches (and foods made with them) were believed to be distributed across a majority of the United States by retailers including Aldi, Food Lion, Hannaford, Kroger (and affiliated retailers: City Market, Fry’s, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Jay-C, King Soopers, Ralphs, and Smiths), Russ Davis Wholesale, Target, Walmart, and Wegmans.
Peaches, in particular, can be contaminated with Salmonella at many points in the production process, according to Salmonella attorney, Brendan Flaherty. “What a lot of people don’t know,” Flaherty said, “is that even fresh peaches are handled extensively before they reach store shelves. They are irrigated in the fields, often hydro-cooled, washed, sorted, packed and moved along mechanised processing lines. All of these contact points pose a risk of Salmonella contamination if the production facilities from farm to fork are not safely operated.
“I’ve personally seen the human cost of these outbreaks. We know that the outbreaks are preventable and yet they keep happening year after year. It is time for every major fresh fruit producer to take this threat seriously and incorporate the safety systems that are commonplace in the production of other ready-to-eat foods.”
“OFT Law exists to make the food we eat safer. Salmonella simply should not be part of the fresh fruit food supply,” said OFT food safety lawyer, Ryan Osterholm.
The lawsuit can be found here.