Botulism Toxins Found in Nacho Cheese Sauce Sold at Valley Oak Food and Fuel

Lawsuit update: Attorney Fred Pritzker is representing a woman sickened in this outbreak. He can be contacted using our online Free Consultation Form.

Botulism toxins were found in nacho cheese sauce sold at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, CA, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). This is “smoking gun” evidence against the gas station, and possibly the company that processed the cheese sauce. Contact our law firm for a free consultation about a lawsuit against Valley Oak Food and Fuel and others.

In response to an outbreak of botulism food poisoning, CDPH tested nacho cheese sauce that had been sold at Valley Oak Food and Fuel, a gas station in Walnut Grove, Sacramento County. These tests confirmed that nacho cheese sauce that was sold at Valley Oak Food and Fuel has tested positive for the toxin that causes botulism. The botulism toxin found in the cheese sauce is the same type identified in people sickened in the outbreak.

To date there are 10 reports of botulism linked to this outbreak. One of these 10 people, a young husband and father of two small children, has tragically died.

Now that botulism toxins have been found in the cheese sauce, traceback investigations will now determine:

  • the company that processed the sauce;
  • the companies that supplied the ingredients for that sauce; and
  • the trucking companies that transported implicated products.

“We need to investigate every company that handled the finished sauce and each ingredient,” said Fred Pritzker, a lawyer who helps people sickened by botulism get compensation. “We cannot rest until we know exactly how the product got contaminated, how it was stored, and why it was not heated sufficiently to kill any toxins.” Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team can be contacted by phone at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or online using our free consultation form.

You May Have the Right to Sue Valley Oak Food and Fuel and Other Companies

If you are part of this outbreak, you may have the right to sue Valley Oak Food and Fuel and other companies. Your lawsuit will seek compensation for hospital and other medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disability, and other harm that the contaminated cheese sauce caused you.

One aspect of the lawsuit will be that the toxin that causes botulism can be found in foods that are not properly processed or stored. This means that one or more corporations caused this outbreak by not properly processing and/or storing the nacho cheese sauce. You or a loved one is suffered severe illness, including paralysis because one or more companies improperly processed and/or stored the produce. A lawsuit is one way of holding these companies accountable.

Testing is the only way to find the toxins because they are odorless and colorless, and it is not possible to tell if a product is contaminated just by looking at it. This makes these toxins even more dangerous.

Clostridium Botulinum from the CDC

CDPH and local public health departments take a great deal of care in investigating outbreaks of illness. Some of the things they do include the following:

  • receive case reports
  • conduct investigations to determine possible sources of exposure
  • test laboratory specimens to identify and link foodborne illnesses
  • take action to ensure food items that pose a risk to public health are no longer available
  • provide information to the public about how to prevent disease, and
  • publish data about overall disease trends and risks.

For botulism outbreaks, CDPH does not track patient conditions or outcomes, so the public is not going to get a lot more information, maybe no more information. This is one reason it is important to file a lawsuit. Your botulism lawyer can take legal steps that can be taken to get additional information from health officials.

Botulism cases in California (and botulism cases in other states that involve a CA resident) are reported to CDPH so that appropriate action can be taken to protect public health. In this case, CDPH and local health officials removed the implicated nacho cheese sauce from sale on May 5. According to a press release, the department believes that there is “no continuing risk to the public.”

Botulism Symptoms

Below are the symptoms of botulism:

  • Double or blurred vision.
  • Drooping eyelids.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Muscle weakness.

People experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care providers immediately.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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