Listeria Monocytogenes

Our law firm helps clients sickened in outbreaks of illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a dangerous, foodborne bacteria.

We are investigating a listeriosis outbreak linked to raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery. People in 4 states were sickened, and 2 of them died: Connecticut (1), Florida (1), New York (3), and Vermont (1). Voltu Creamery has issued a recall of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft, wash-rind raw milk cheeses.  Whole Foods Market has also issued a recall involving 9 stores; however, the company press release says that no illnesses have been reported from customers of these 9 stores. Contact attorney Fred Pritzker if you want to discuss pursuing a lawsuit against Vulto Creamery and the retailer where the cheese was purchased.

What is Listeria Monocytogenes?

Listeria CDC

This is an electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue. According to the CDC, about 2,500 persons become seriously ill each year. Of these, 500 die.

Listeria monocytogenes is a rod-shaped bacteria that causes an illness called listeriosis. L. monocytogenes bacteria have been found in at least 37 species of mammal, 17 bird species and some types of fish and shellfish. A hardy bacterium, it is remarkably resistant to freezing, drying, and, to some extent, heating.

People get sick by eating food contaminated with L. monocytogenes. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy.

Listeria Food Poisoning Symptoms

Listeria food poisoning affects primarily persons of advanced age, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, persons without these risk factors can also rarely be affected.

Initial symptoms are usually flu-like.  In many cases, the person sickened does not seek medical help until the infection has moved to the brain, causing meningitis.  At this point, the person is extremely sick, and may die. In fact, of the 1,000 to 2,500 people who are infected each year in the U.S, 25 percent die as a result of the infection.

Some populations are much more susceptible to infection, including pregnant women, babies, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems (cancer, diabetes, HIV, etc.). Read about diabetes and food poisoning.

Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.



Fred Pritzker is a national food safety lawyer who represents clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against food companies and others who sell contaminated food.

  • Meningitis
  • Septicemia
  • Pneumonia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Encephalitis
  • Seizures
  • Blindness
  • Brain Stem Damage
  • Cranial Nerve Palsies
  • Cervical Cord Compression
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature Birth

Outbreak Lawsuits

Outbreaks of listeriosis have been caused by the following:

  • Raw produce, including lettuce, cantaloupe, cucumbers, cilantro, peaches, nectarines, plums and apples (caramel apple outbreak in 2014);
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheese made from raw milk; and
  • Cooked or processed foods, including ice cream (Blue Bell), certain soft cheeses, processed (or ready-to-eat) meats (for example, hot dogs and deli ham), smoked seafood.

Our law firm represents people sickened by food contaminated with L. monocytogenes.

My Husband Contracted Listeriosis

Listeria and Listeriosis Clients

Pat and John are clients. We helped them obtain significant compensation from the company responsible for John’s illness. Pat and John have become tireless food safety advocates. Read their testimonial.

Pat and John are clients we helped after John contracted listeriosis. This is what Pat said about hiring attorney Fred Pritzker in an interview with the American Association for Justice (AAJ):

“John was unconscious and intubated. His blood pressure spiked. He had small strokes, sepsis. We hired Fred Pritzker in June 2012. Fred Pritzker and Brendan Flaherty carried John and me through these months of fear. They found out through their investigation how John got sick, and where the contamination happened. Fred Pritzker knew more about Listeria than anyone in the medical field and anyone we came into contact with. We faced mounting medical costs, and our quality of life completely changed. We faced an uncertain future. We are grateful that we had a good lawyer on our side, and we decided that we would go forth with the lawsuit in September 2012. We are glad we did.”

We are privileged to count Pat and John as clients and friends.

Client Testimonial

Below is a note from another one of our clients. We recently settled his case for several million dollars. He suffered life-changing injuries caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

“It seems so inadequate to just say ‘Thank You’ for all you have done for me (and my family); however, I am at a loss in terms of what else to add to express my appreciation to each of you for all you’ve done.  The financial piece of the settlement certainly eliminates any future uncertainty in terms of being able to adequately provide for my own needs and pursue innovative medical treatments should any become available.  More importantly for me though, is the measure of accountability it has extracted on the manufacturer of the food product that harmed me.  We all know that nothing can ‘make up’ for what has already happened, but I’m hopeful it will provide a strong deterrent in the future as well as showing that when you intentionally commit wrongdoing, it isn’t ignored.  For working on my behalf to make this a reality, you have my eternal thanks.”


Vulto Creamery Raw Milk Cheese

Two people died and six were sickened in an outbreak linked to recalled Vulto Creamery soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses. That dairy is located in Walton, New York. The products were sold at Whole Foods stores and other retail outlets around the country.  The outbreak was announced in March 2017.  And a baby was born infected with listeriosis.

CRF Frozen Food’s Frozen Vegetable Products

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in conjunction with the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has since March 2016 been investigating a serious, nationwide outbreak. They have now pinpointed CRF Frozen Foods, based in Pasco, Washington, as the source of this outbreak, which has infected eight (8) people since September 13, 2013.

Miller’s Organic Farm Raw Milk

After 2 years, we now know that raw milk is most likely the source of an outbreak that sickened 2 people, one in California and one in Florida, in 2014. Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, is the likely source of this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both people were hospitalized, and the person from Florida died.

If you were sickened in 2015 or 2014, you may still have time to file a lawsuit.

  1. SaladDole Packaged Salad – In 2015, a total of 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria were reported from nine states: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New Jersey (1), New York (6), Ohio (2) and Pennsylvania (1).
  2. Blue Bell Ice Cream – At least 10 people from 4 states were sickened in an outbreak linked to Blue Bell Creameries ice cream: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). The 5 people in Kansas were all sickened from “Scoops” eaten at Via Christie Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. The outbreak was over as of June 10, 2015.
  3. Soft Cheese Products – At least 24 people were sickened from 2010 through the summer of 2015 in an outbreak caused by contaminated soft cheese products distributed by Karoun Dairies, Inc., both California companies, according to the CDC. The states and illnesses in each are as follows: California (14), Colorado (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), New York (2), Ohio (1), Tennessee (1) and Washington (1). One woman had a miscarriage and one adult died.
  4. Caramel Apples – At least 35 people from 12 states were sickened in an outbreak linked to several brands of caramel apples: Arizona (5), California (3), Colorado (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). Caramel apple brands named in interviews included Happy Apples, Carnival, and Merb’s Candies, according to the CDC. Dates of onset of illness ranged from October 17, 2014, to January 6, 2015. Eleven illnesses were associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). On miscarriage was reported. Most of those sickened were elderly, and many developed meningitis. In addition three otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 also contracted meningitis. Thirty-four people were hospitalized, and the infection contributed to at least three deaths.
  5. Bean Sprouts – Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc., according to the CDC. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported.  On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. agreed to conduct a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts and notified customers by telephone. Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of sprouts on August 28, 2014, and resumed production on September 15, 2014.
  6. Soft Cheese Products – At least 5 people from 4 states were sickened in an outbreak linked to quesito casero cheese produced by Oasis Brands, Inc., according to the CDC: Georgia (1), New York (1), Tennessee (2), and Texas (1).  The first person became ill in September 2013, and four more recent illnesses occurred during June through October 2014. Four people were hospitalized. Three illnesses were related to a pregnancy – one of these was diagnosed in a newborn. One death was reported in Tennessee. On August 4, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. voluntarily recalled quesito casero. On October 6, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. expanded the recall to include cuajada en hoja (fresh curd). On October 16, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. announced an additional recall of various Lacteos Santa Martha and one HonduCrema brand cheese and dairy products.

How Does Food Get Contaminated?

Because animals may carry it in their intestines without becoming sick, this pathogen sometimes spreads to meat and dairy products. Although the bacteria are killed through cooking and other heating methods used to produce ready-to-eat foods such as pasteurization, some ready-to-eat foods become contaminated after processing. This kind of contamination can take place in the processing plant or on the road from the processor to your plate.

Outbreaks of illness are most commonly associated with ready-to-eat meat foods, including hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultry. Soft cheeses are another common source of outbreaks.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been sickened, you can contact our lawyers for a free consultation about a Listeria lawsuit for compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team are some of the few lawyers in the U.S. who practice extensively in the area of foodborne illness litigation. They have won millions for their clients and been quoted by The New York Times, CNN, Associated Press and others. Fred has spoken at Harvard Law School, Cornell and other venues about food safety. We file individual suits to get the best compensation for our clients with personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Bad Bug Law Team

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Caramel Apples: Class Action Lawsuit

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