2017-02-20T12:35:45+00:00Pritzker Hageman, P.A.
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Update: This outbreak is over; however, if you or a loved one has been hospitalized after eating cucumbers, contact our law firm for a free consultation: 1-888-377-8900.

Can I Sue for Salmonella from Cucumbers?

Yes, you can sue for Salmonella from cucumbers if the following is true:

  1. you were diagnosed with a Salmonella infection (salmonellosis); and
  2. there is evidence that your illness was caused by contaminated cucumbers.

Law Firm Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Child

Attorneys Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a child who contracted Salmonella Poona after eating cucumbers at a restaurant. They are preparing to file additional suits on behalf of others sickened in the multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico, at least some of which were distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, a California business, according to the CDC.

Grocery stores doing business with distributor Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce include:

Fresh and Easy, Costco, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, HEB, Albertsons, United, Sam’s Club, and Savemart.

Restaurants doing business with Andrew & Williamson include:

Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and The Capital Grille.

Ryan Osterholm
Attorney Ryan Osterholm is one of the attorneys handling these cases. You can email him at [email protected].

We are getting contacts from people sickened in the outbreak and parents of children sickened. People sickened can contact our our law firm for a free consultation (click here now). A Salmonella lawyer at our law firm will contact you as soon as possible, sometimes within minutes, depending on the time of day.

The implicated cucumbers were imported cucumbers from Mexico. This means there are several companies in the sales chain, and it is possible that all of them are legally liable. A lawsuit is often the only way to hold companies accountable for selling contaminated food. Read “Salmonella Lawsuit: 5 Reasons to Sue.”

The CDC, FDA and state health departments have been investigating this outbreak.

To date (September 8, 2015), 341 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 30 states:

Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3).

The following is from the CDC:

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 15. Fifty-three percent of ill people are children younger than 18 years. Fifty-eight percent of ill people are female. Among 214 people with available information, 70 (33%) report being hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported from California (1) and Texas (1).

The families of those who tragically died in this outbreak can contact our law firm about a wrongful death lawsuit.

Cucumber Outbreak Investigation

Salmonella
Image from CDC

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak.

Epidemiologic Evidence

State and local epidemiologists have interviewed ill people and are continuing to do so.  They are asking them (or their parents) about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before their illness began. To date, fifty-eight (73%) of 80 people interviewed reported eating cucumbers. This was statistically higher than a survey of healthy people.

In addition, numerous ill people were identified as part of illness clusters. An illness cluster is defined as two or more people who do not live in the same household who report eating at the same restaurant location, attending a common event, or shopping at the same location of a grocery store in the week before becoming ill. Investigating illness clusters can provide critical clues about the source of an outbreak. If several unrelated ill persons ate or shopped at the same location of a restaurant or store within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there.

Eleven illness clusters have been identified in seven states. In all of these clusters, interviews found that cucumbers were a food item eaten in common by ill people. Epidemiologic studies that compare foods eaten by both ill and well people are being conducted in two of these clusters. Preliminary results of these studies indicate that a food item containing cucumbers was associated with illness.

Traceback Evidence

Preliminary traceback information indicates that cucumbers eaten by ill people in these clusters were imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

Laboratory Evidence

Testing is being done on those sickened and cucumbers to see look for connections. The outbreak strain of Salmonella, Poona, is fairly rare. It is the strain that has sickened the people that are part of the outbreak.

Several state health and agriculture departments have collected and continue to collect leftover cucumbers from restaurants and grocery stores where ill people reported eating or shopping to test for the presence of Salmonella. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated Salmonella from cucumbers collected during a visit to the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility. The company has since recalled cucumbers.

DNA “fingerprinting” is being conducted to determine the PFGE pattern of the Salmonella isolated from these cucumbers. Results of additional product testing will be reported when available.

An industry consultation was held on August 26, 2015, with four independent experts from the produce industry to obtain information regarding fresh produce harvesting and distribution in the affected region. The consultants provided information regarding crop production and distribution practices that helped assess the plausibility of cucumbers and other produce items as possible outbreak sources.

Andrew & Williamson Cucumber Recall

On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The recalled cucumber is a type referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber. It is dark green in color and typical length is 7 to 10 inches.

These cucumbers are typically sold in retail locations in a bulk display without any individual packaging or plastic wrapping. Limited Edition cucumbers were distributed in the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah and reached customers through retail, food service companies, wholesalers, and brokers. Further distribution to other states may have occurred.

Labeling on the cases of recalled cucumbers indicates the product was grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico.

Antibiotic Resistant Strain of Salmonella

This outbreak has caused severe illness and wrongful death, which suggests that this strain of Salmonella bacteria is antibiotic resistant. CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory is conducting antibiotic resistance testing on clinical isolates collected from ill people infected with the outbreak strains; results will be reported by the agency (and on this blog) when they become available.