A class action lawsuit has been filed against California-based Wonderful Pistachios saying that the company and retailer Sam’s Club must be made to pay for a salmonella outbreak allegedly tied to pistachio nuts contaminated with the bacteria. According to a news report in the Cook County Record, Alejandro Reyes filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago against California-Based Wonderful Pistachios and Sam’s Club alleging they were negligent in selling the nuts that were tainted with illness-causing bacteria and for failing to warn consumers that the raw nuts could be contaminated.
A Nationwide Outbreak
Reyes asked the court to expand the class action lawsuit to potentially include thousands of other plaintiffs in Illinois who may have bought the defective products and like him, may have fallen ill after eating the nuts. The lawsuit states that Reyes bought a bag of Wonderful Pistachios at Sam’s Club in Chicago in December 2015. Reyes said he was sickened after eating some of the pistachios. He says he suffered severe symptoms including abdominal pain and diarrhea consistent with salmonella infection.
After recovering several days later, Reyes purportedly ate the pistachios again (without realizing they caused his earlier illness), and was sickened again with the same symptoms. The complaint notes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in early 2016, traced a salmonella outbreak in different parts of the United States to the contaminated pistachios produced by Wonderful. The complaint seeks unspecified damages for those who were sickened by the tainted pistachios and attorneys’ fees.
The Dangers of Salmonella
CDC estimates that approximately 1.2 million illnesses and approximately 450 deaths occur due to salmonella annually in the United States each year. Thousands who are afflicted by this infection require hospitalization. Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment.
In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites. In these cases, salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
If you or a loved one has suffered a food-borne illness as the result of consuming a contaminated food product, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.