New sample preparation solution aims to simplify food safety testing

Editor’s Note: Read our lengthy Q&A with Marler Clark’s Bill Marler.

BOISE, Idaho – Three lawsuits have been filed against Prosource Produce, LLC, on behalf of victims of a nationwide attack Salmonella outbreak linked to onions which to date has sickened nearly 900 people. Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, representing Ronald Wood, Ching-Yi Ortiz, on behalf of her minor son, and Jennifer Luhm, on behalf of her minor son; all three complaints were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

The plaintiffs, living in three different states, consumed onions distributed and sold by the defendant, which were later recalled due to their potential contamination by Salmonella. Showing symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever and fatigue, they saw a doctor in a hospital setting, which resulted in a positive diagnosis of Salmonella Oranienburg infection.

A child was admitted to hospital when he developed sepsis, organ failure, pneumonia, acidosis, thrombocytopenia, pericardial effusion, interstitial emphysema and extreme pain when he reached the bones around his sacroiliac joint. Medical treatment will continue while these victims recover from the potentially long-term effects of Salmonella infection.

“This outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg has hospitalized more people than most outbreaks of a similar size,” said William D. Marler, managing partner at Marler Clark. “Additionally, this is the second significant Salmonella outbreak linked to onions in the past two years.”

As of November 12, 2021, 892 people infected with the epidemic strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been reported in 38 states and Puerto Rico. The illnesses began on dates ranging from May 31, 2021 to October 25, 2021. Ill people range in age from less than a year to 101 years old, with a median age of 37, and 58% are female. Of 571 people with information, 183 (32%) were hospitalized.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, Marler Clark said, and the outbreak may not be limited to states where the illnesses are known. Indeed, many people recover without medical attention and are not tested for Salmonella. Also, recent illnesses may not yet be reported, as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

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