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Can I Sue Safeway for Salmonella Food Poisoning?

Yes, you can sue Safeway for Salmonella food poisoning if your illness can be contacted to one of the company’s products or a retail store.

Below is information about a past outbreak linked to Cargill Meat Solutions ground beef sold to Safeway and then repackaged. Because of the repackaging, people sickened in the outbreak could sue both Cargill and Safeway.

Ground Beef Outbreak and Recall

ground-beef-poA 2009 multi-state outbreak of a drug-resistant strain of Salmonella Newport was associated with recalled ground beef processed by Beef Packers, Inc. and Safeway. Beef Packers, Inc. is owned by Cargill Meat Solutions, a subsidiary of Cargill, Incorporated. Some of this recalled ground beef was distributed to Safeway, where it was repackaged for sale to consumers.

The Colorado Department of Public Health has reproted that at least 15 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport have been associated with Safeway ground beef products.

Anyone sickened in this outbreak may have claims against Safeway, Beef Packers and Cargill.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) 15 of the 16 confirmed cases in Colorado involved ground beef sold at Safeway:

The majority of cases, 21 illnesses, have been reported in Colorado in the following counties: Arapahoe (3), Broomfield (3), Denver (3), Douglas (1), Elbert (1), Garfield (1), Jefferson (5), Mesa (1), Pueblo (1) and Weld (2). Four people have been hospitalized, and all are recovering.

Most people became ill during late June and early July, with the most recent illness occurring July 13. Because it can take at least two weeks for cases of illness to be reported to the state health department, it is possible additional cases may be reported. . . .

Of Colorado’s confirmed cases, the state has epidemiologic data showing that 15 of 16 confirmed illnesses (out of a total of 21 confirmed cases) purchased their ground beef product at Safeway Stores. Point of purchase information is not available on the other Colorado cases. At this time, it is not known whether the product was distributed to other stores.

Epidemiological and traceback investigations conducted by FSIS and CDPHE determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses reported in Colorado. The illnesses were also linked through the epidemiological investigation by their uncommon pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern found in PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The microbiological and epidemiological evidence gathered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and other state health departments and federal health investigators is generally admissible in a court of law.

In response to this outbreak, on August 6, 2009, Safeway recalled all fresh ground beef products sold between June 6 and July 14, 2009.

Beef Packers, Inc., Safeway’s supplier, has recalled over 825,000 pounds of ground beef.