WA Family Files Salmonella Lawsuit Against Kellogg Company in Contaminated Peanut Butter Outbreak


As the Salmonella outbreak traced to tainted peanut products continued to grow, one family filed suit against The Kellogg Company, manufacturer of the peanut butter cracker sandwich product that made them ill. The Rector family of Blaine, Washington filed suit on Friday in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington. The family is represented by Seattle foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark.

The Rectors purchased Austin-brand peanut butter cracker sandwiches (a Kellogg product) at a local grocery store in December 2008. Over time, both Bill Rector and his three-year-old daughter consumed the crackers. Bill began to suffer nausea and stomach cramps on January 15, 2009. He visited the ER and was released, but his symptoms continued to worsen and he had to return on January 16. He was admitted, and remained hospitalized until January 19. He was quarantined from his family due to his infectious state.

On January 17, the Rector’s young daughter became violently ill, with frequent bouts of bloody diarrhea. Shannon Rector rushed her to the hospital, where she was admitted. The child remained hospitalized until January 20, continuing to have explosive, bloody diarrhea. During the week following her release, she had frequent diarrhea and she continues to have stomach pain and bathroom urgency.

While Bill Rector and his daughter were hospitalized, they both tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium.

“The Kellogg Company was extremely proactive in the recall process,” said Bill Marler, the Rector’s attorney. “It’s time for them to apply that same care and attention to the people sickened by their product.”

Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses were reported as early as August 2008, but were not linked to peanut butter until January 2009. The outbreak was then traced to the Peanut Corporation of America processing plants in Blakely, GA and Plainview, TX. The now-shuttered plants provided peanut butter and peanut paste used in many products, including cookies, crackers, candies, ice cream, nutrition bars, and dog treats. Dozens of companies have recalled almost three thousand products, making it one of the largest food recalls in American history.