Nine people are still hospitalized with botulism in an outbreak linked to eating nacho cheese sauce at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, California, according to the Sacramento County Health and Human Services Department. These people were sickened in April and May of 2017, before the gas station ceased food preparation on May 5, 2017.
“Every corporation involved in the processing, transportation, and sale of every ingredient in the nacho cheese sauce needs to be investigated,” said Fred Pritzker, a national food safety lawyer who represents people sickened in botulism outbreaks. “Botulism is a paralytic illness caused by eating food contaminated with neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum, a spore-forming bacterium. In other words, this bacteria gets into food and starts pumping out deadly toxins. The investigation needs to determine if, when, and how the nacho cheese sauce or one of its ingredients became contaminated.”
Our lawyers are investigating this outbreak.
Did Valley Oak Food and Fuel serve nacho cheese sauce that was not adequately refrigerated and/or improperly heated before it was sold?
We do not know the answer to this question yet because the investigation is ongoing. We do know that in general Botulism outbreaks happen when prevention methods are ignored.
Refrigeration at less than 40°F stops the growth of Clostridium botulinum and the production of toxins. Was the cheese sauce stored properly?
An outbreak in 1993 linked to canned cheese sauce served at a restaurant sickened eight people. The investigation found that the opened can was left in the restaurant without refrigeration.
Botulinum toxins can be destroyed by heating contaminated food to 185°F for at least 5 minutes. How was the cheese sauce heated and to what temperature?
Free Consultation Regarding a Botulism Lawsuit
Botulism is a horrific illness if not immediately treated with antitoxin. Patients suffer paralysis, starting with the head and moving to the respiratory system. The paralysis is generally temporary, but for weeks or months, the patient may have paralysis of the face (not even being able to move the eyelids), the neck, and, in extremely severe cases, the respiratory system, arms, trunk and legs.
Outbreak victims have the right to sue for compensation and justice. A lawsuit is often the only way to get access to all relevant information. In some of our lawsuits against other companies, our lawyers have found evidence of wrongdoing, including extremely insanitary conditions and intentional sale of adulterated products.
Contact our botulism lawyers for a free consultation. Fred is one of the few lawyers in the United States who has won multi-million-dollar settlements from companies linked to food poisoning outbreaks. He has spoken at Harvard Law School, Cornell and other venues about food safety and litigation.