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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

The History of Salmonella Outbreak Litigation

salmonella2304_228x255.jpgOne of the first Salmonella outbreaks that I was involved with was the Schwan’s Salmonella outbreak when I was appointed as a guardian for a young woman who lost her kidneys in 1994 after consuming ice cream.

Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States. Salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is the second most common foodborne illness after Campylobacter infection. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are foodborne-related. Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000 cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections each year. Salmonellosis is more common in the warmer months of the year. Reactive Arthritis or Reiter’s Syndrome as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are known complications.

Salmonella infection occurs when the bacteria are ingested, typically from food derived from infected food-animals, but it can also occur by ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person. Food sources include raw or undercooked eggs/egg products, raw milk or raw milk products, contaminated water, meat and meat products, and poultry. Raw fruits and vegetables contaminated during slicing have been implicated in several foodborne outbreaks. We have been involved in representing families of children who have suffered from this bacterium in the following outbreaks: