Dog Food Salmonella Lawsuit Filed in New Jersey

Attorney Fred Pritzker Email Image

A dog food Salmonella lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey on behalf of an infant who suffered a dangerous infection through no fault of his family as part of the nine-state Diamond Pet Food Salmonella outbreak involving a store brand made for Costco Wholesale Corporation.

The suit in U.S. District Court is believed to be the first lawsuit connected to the outbreak, which has sickened at least 15 people and hospitalized five of them, including the New Jersey baby. The infant’s father is the client of national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen Attorneys, which filed the lawsuit this week with local counsel in New Jersey. Costco and South Carolina-based Diamond Pet Food are the defendants in the case.

“This child suffered severe pain due to a collapse of food safety protections,’’ said Attorney Elliot Olsen of the Pritzker firm. “Both of these companies knew or should have known that these products were contaminated with pathogens.’’

Once introduced into the home environment, the Salmonella bacteria is easily transferred by contact and can quickly spread throughout the environment.

“The tragic part of this outbreak is that children who have not had any contact with the dog food itself have nonetheless contracted serious Salmonella infections,” Olsen said.

The bacteria is colorless, odorless and the infectious dose, especially for children, is extremely small. Contact with an animal who has eaten the contaminated dog food could be enough to cause infection in a person. For this reason, once it is introduced into the home environment it poses a very significant risk no matter how carefully you handle the food itself.

According to the suit, the infant was hospitalized for three days after developing severe diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite on April 11. When he was taken to a local clinic in Freehold, N.J., the family’s pediatricians sent them to the emergency room at St. Peter’s University Hospital, where the baby was admitted and treated for salmonellosis.

According to the complaint, the bacteria cultured from the infant proved to the same rare genetic subtype of Salmonella Infantis found in other human subjects of the outbreak and in samples of contaminated dog food recalled by Diamond Pet Food.

Some of the recalled products carried the Kirkland name — Costco’s private-label store brand made by Diamond. According to the suit, the baby’s father had been purchasing Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables for the family dog. It was one of the varieties that would be recalled by Diamond. The pet food recall has been made in several installments.

According to the suit, FDA inspectors found Diamond’s manufacturing plant in Gaston, S.C., to be in violation of several food safety codes during a visit to the facility last month. The inspection report cited poorly maintained equipment, containers and utensils that were difficult or impossible to clean.

The CDC has said that the bacteria spread when people came into contact with the contaminated pet food or with an animal that ate the food.

Pet food Salmonella outbreak victims and their families can contact attorneys Elliot Olsen and
Brendan Flaherty by calling PritzkerOlsen, P.A., at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). Or leave your contact information and one of them will call you back. Pritzker Olsen is a nationally recognized food safety law firm, one of the few in the nation practicing extensively in the area of foodborne illness litigation. The firm has collected millions for food poisoning outbreak victims. The firm represents Salmonella victims throughout the United States and has offices at Plaza Seven, Suite 2950, 45 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

Tags: , ,