Vermont Couple Sues Over Peanut Butter-related Salmonella Case

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Vermont Couple Sues Over Peanut Butter-related Salmonella Case

A couple from South Burlington, Vt. whose 7-year-old son contracted salmonella poisoning filed suit this week in U.S District Court in Georgia against Peanut Corp. of America (PCA), alleging that the child was one of those sickened in a national outbreak related to peanut butter products, according to a published report.

Gabrielle and Daryl Meunier's son, Christopher, became ill Nov. 25, a day after eating Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich crackers, Mrs. Meunier said. He was hospitalized for six days, but his condition has since improved.

The Keebler crackers are among the products recalled by the Kellogg Co., which was supplied by PCA.

The Meuniers' lawyer is Seattle-based William Marler, who specializes in foodborne illnesses.

"[W]e have to make sure all possibly contaminated product is promptly recalled, and that the responsible companies step up to pay the medical bills of the victims as well as the cost of government investigations," Marler noted in his blog. "In addition, the public needs to know what safety precautions the Peanut Corp. of America was taking, especially after the 2007 [peanut butter-related] outbreak. Finally, they need to show the public what will be done to prevent the next outbreak."

Although the Meuniers claim that the crackers caused their son's illness, the Vermont Department of Health declined to confirm that information. The remaining crackers in the package from which the boy was eating before he fell ill have yet to be tested by the Food and Drug Administration for salmonella, his mother said.

The outbreak has so far killed at least six people and sickened over 470 others in 43 states.

The FDA has tracked the outbreak to a Georgia facility owned by PCA, which manufactures peanut butter and peanut paste for distribution to institutions and food companies. Various retailers and manufacturers have issued recalls for products containing peanut butter, but government officials have said that most jarred peanut butter sold in supermarkets appears to be safe.