Salmonella infections traced to contaminated tomatoes


SEATTLE, WA -- Over sixty people have become ill with Salmonella serotype javiana infections across a broad section of the East Coast over the last weeks. The illnesses have now been traced to the consumption of raw tomatoes supplied to Sheetz, Inc. by Coronet Foods, Inc. of West Virginia.

William Marler of Marler Clark, the Seattle foodborne illness law firm, represents six individuals sickened in this current outbreak, and hundreds of individuals sickened in other produce-related outbreaks.

“Western Pennsylvania has been hit hard by contaminated produce in the last nine months. First a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to green onions, now a Salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes. The lesson is that Companies need to know where their fresh produce is coming from, and be careful to make sure that their suppliers are taking proper precautions to ensure the safety of their products,” said Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “I thought that message was sent loud and clear last November.”

“This is not the first time that tomatoes have been implicated in an outbreak,” said Marler. Tomatoes were determined to be the source of Salmonella outbreaks in 1990, 1993, 1999, and 2002. Each of the previous outbreaks sickened substantially more people than have been reported to be ill during the current outbreak, with numbers ranging from 85 to 175.

“This outbreak could be larger than we now know,” Marler continued, noting that many people who become ill with Salmonella infection do not seek medical attention or report their illnesses to their health departments. Less than three percent of estimated Salmonella cases are officially reported nationwide.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s website, between 1990 and 1999 there were been dozens of produce-related foodborne pathogen-related outbreaks.

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Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of foodborne bacterial illnesses. William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box in 1993. Since then Marler Clark has represented thousands of individuals, mostly children, who have become sickened by a foodborne pathogen. Marler Clark presently represents over 100 victims of Salmonella poisonings in the States of Illinois, Michigan, California and New York. The partners at Marler Clark also speak frequently on a variety of food safety issues. Marler Clark is also proud to sponsor the informational web sites about Salmonella and Salmonella litigation.

More about the Sheetz Salmonella outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.