Blaine man sues Kellogg Co. over salmonella case

A Blaine man has filed a lawsuit against Kellogg Co., alleging he and his 3-year-old daughter were sickened by salmonella from tainted peanut butter crackers.

In the lawsuit, attorney William Marler of the Seattle firm Marler Clark contends that both Billie Rector and his daughter, Payton, were hospitalized with severe intestinal illness in January, after eating Austin brand peanut butter crackers made by Kellogg.

Both of them have since recovered, according to the family.

The lawsuit says they had purchased the crackers in the previous month and had eaten some of them before Kellogg issued what the company called a "precautionary hold" on the Austin brand crackers on Jan. 14, 2009.

Kellogg's announcement was issued after Food and Drug Administration investigators traced a nationwide salmonella outbreak to Peanut Corp. of America, a company that supplied peanut ingredients used in some Kellogg products.

"The defendant Kellogg was negligent in the selection of its food suppliers, or other subcontractors, and failed to adequately supervise them, or provide them with adequate standards ... and as a result, purchased and used products that were contaminated with salmonella," the lawsuit says.

The suit seeks unspecified financial damages due to medical expenses, physical and emotional distress, and possible future medical problems.

More than 600 people in 44 states have been identified as likely victims of salmonella infection traced to the peanut ingredients from Peanut Corp. of America, which had been used in a variety of foods.

The Marler Clark firm specializes in cases involving food-borne illness.