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Marler Clark Files Lawsuits in Nationwide Salmonella Onion Outbreak

(Boise, ID) Three lawsuits have been filed against Prosource Produce, LLC, on behalf of victims of a nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to onions which sickened nearly 900 people. Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, represents 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. Complaints # 1:21-cv-00474-DCN,1:21-cv-00473-CWD, 1:21-cv-00476-CWD.

See complaint below.

The plaintiffs, living in three different states, consumed onions distributed and sold by the Defendant, that were later recalled due to their potential contamination with Salmonella. With symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, and fatigue, they sought medical attention in a hospital setting which resulted in a positive diagnoses of Salmonella Oranienburg infection.

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

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

As of November 12, 2021, 892 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been reported from 38 states and Puerto Rico. Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 31, 2021, to October 25, 2021.Sick people range in age from less than 1 year to 101 years, with a median age of 37, and 58% are female. Of 571 people with information available, 183 (32%) have been hospitalized.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

What to do you need to know during a Salmonella outbreak?

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria from 788 people’s samples did not predict any antibiotic resistance. Five people’s samples were predicted to be resistant to one or more of the following antibiotics: amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, and ceftriaxone, gentamicin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, and tetracycline. Standard antibiotic susceptibility testing of three people’s samples by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory also found no resistance. Most people with Salmonella illness recover without antibiotics. However, if antibiotics are needed, this resistance is unlikely to affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people because it is rare.

FDA published a list of retail establishments that received product recalled by Keeler Family Farms and a list of retail establishments that received product recalled by ProSource Produce LLC. These lists represent the best information currently available to the FDA; however, they may not include all retail establishments that have received the recalled product or may include retail establishments that did not actually receive the recalled product. It is important that you use the product-specific information, available on the Keeler Family Farms recall announcement and the ProSource Produce LLC recall announcement, in addition to these lists of retail stores, when you check the food you have to see if it has been recalled.

FDA has posted a list of additional recalls being conducted by companies that may have received recall onions from ProSource Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms. This list includes recalls conducted by companies that further processed the onions by using them as ingredients in new products or by repackaging them.

ProSource Produce LLC has voluntarily recalled red, yellow, and white onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with import dates from July 1, 2021, through August 31, 2021. Additional descriptors used for these onion types may include, but are not limited to, jumbo, colossal, medium, summer and sweet onions. Additional recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from ProSource Inc.

The onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail or grocery stores in:

  • 50 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., 5 lb., 3 lb., and 2 lb. mesh sacks
  • 50 lb., 40 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. cartons

And by the following distributors and/or under the following brands:

  • Big Bull
  • Peak Fresh Produce
  • Sierra Madre
  • Markon First Crop.
  • Markon Essentials
  • Rio Blue
  • ProSource
  • Rio Valley
  • Sysco Imperial

Keeler Family Farms has recalled red, yellow, and white whole, fresh onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with import dates from July 1, 2021, through August 25, 2021. The onions were distributed in 25lb and 50lb mesh sacks. They contain a label that is marked as “MVP (product of MX)”.

Additional details regarding the recalled products are available on the Keeler Family Farms recall announcement.

Recalls have also been initiated by companies that sold recalled onions or products containing the recalled onions.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued an advisory for recalled onions that were imported to Canada. As of today, there are no known illnesses in Canada linked to this outbreak.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $750 million for clients. Our Salmonella attorneys have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim and would like a free case evaluation, contact Marler Clark or call Bill Marler directly at 1-800-884-9840.

2021 12 03 Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial2 (pdf)
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