Tuesday, June 1, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Kennewick family has sued California-based almond producer Paramount Farms, alleging the mother and two young children were sickened by salmonella-tainted almonds.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Spokane, contends Shawnna Morris and her two young children fell ill in February.
She had purchased a package of raw almonds, produced by Paramount, at a store in Kennewick, in southeast Washington, the lawsuit said.
Both Shawnna Morris and her 3-year-old daughter ate the nuts, said lawyer Bill Marler of Seattle. He alleges the family's 1-year-old son became ill from contact with his mother and sister.
According to the lawsuit, all three were diagnosed with salmonella enteritidis, a type of food poisoning.
Federal regulators have received reports of 25 people falling ill, most likely from raw almonds supplied by Paramount. The company has voluntarily recalled 13 million pounds of raw almonds nationwide, and the size of the recall appeared likely to grow as federal investigators continue to identify distributors and repackagers of almonds that originated from Paramount.
The recall covers millions of packages sold under a variety of brand names across the country, as well as almonds shipped to eight countries. The FDA has received reports of salmonella enteritidis in at least six states so far. No fatalities have been reported.
Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to infection from salmonella. Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Paramount spokesman Chris Tuffli on Tuesday declined comment, saying he had not seen the lawsuit.
Salmonella in almonds is rare, this is only the second reported outbreak.
So far, investigators have found no trace of salmonella in any of the recalled almonds or at Paramount. Experts say it is possible the outbreak may never be traced to its source.
On the Net:
Paramount Farms: http:www.paramountfarms.com