Editor's Note: Read our extensive Q&A with Marler Clark's Bill Marler.
BOISE, Idaho — Three lawsuits have been filed against Prosource Produce, LLC, on behalf of victims of a nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to onions which to date has 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.
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 child 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."
As of Nov. 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 Oct. 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, Marler Clark said, 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 three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.