A Minnesota couple sued ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) Thursday for selling the pot pies they believe made their young daughter ill with salmonella. The federal lawsuit Amy and Joshua Reinert filed is the first one related to this week’s announcement that ConAgra’s banquet and generic pot pies had been linked to a salmonella outbreak.
The company and federal officials warned customers not to eat the pot pies and to throw them away, and ConAgra is offering refunds. A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message Thursday seeking comment about the lawsuit.
Amy Reinert said her daughter Isabelle continued to have diarrhea for nearly six weeks after she initially became ill in August at the age of 19 months. An ambulance took the youngest of the Reinerts’ three children to the emergency room on Aug. 18 after she had a seizure and lost consciousness. “That was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced as a parent,” Amy Reinert said. “It was horrible.” A few days later, doctors told the Reinerts that Isabelle had salmonella, but it wasn’t until this week – after countless interviews with health officials – that the family learned what caused the illness. Isabelle’s salmonella matched the strain of the illness that health officials have linked to at least 152 cases of salmonella in 31 states. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 20 people have been hospitalized as part of the ongoing outbreak, but so far no deaths have been linked to the pot pies.
The lawyer who is handling the Reinerts’ lawsuit, Bill Marler, has criticized ConAgra’s decision not to immediately recall the product. Marler, of Seattle- based law firm Marler Clark, handles many food-borne illness cases.