A food poisoning lawsuit was filed in Bexar County District Court today against San Antonio-based Sangar Fresh Cut Produce. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of a man who died from a Listerosis infection he contracted after eating celery produced by Sangar. The man, Hermillo Castellano was one four people who died as a result of consuming the contaminated celery.

celery-listeria264x1881.jpgCastellano was in a San Antonio hospital with a previous condition in May 2010 when he consumed Sangar chopped celery. Three days after his discharge, Castellano began experiencing severe gastrointestinal problems and was readmitted to the hospital where he tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Over the next two weeks his condition worsened, and on June 15, 2010 Castellano died as a result of his Listerosis infection.

“Sangar Fresh Cut Produce had a responsibility to Mr. Castellano, his wife, and anyone who was a consumer of its produce to provide a safe and unadulterated product,” said Marler Clark Managing Partner Bill Marler. “Unfortunately in this case, Sangar failed to do so and the results were multiple and unnecessary deaths of people like Hermillo Castellano.”

In October 2010, after lab tests confirmed the presence of Listeria in the company’s chopped celery, the Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS) ordered Sangar to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January 2010. According to a statement from the Texas DSHS conditions in the food processing plant posed “an immediate and serious threat to human life or health.” To date, seven cases including four deaths have been attributed to Sangar.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food generally contaminated with the bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. It is considerably dangerous and often fatal for the elderly. Listeriosis can also cause pregnant women to give birth to stillborn babies.