Can I Sue for Salmonella from Spices?

Yes, you can sue for Salmonella (salmonellosis) from spices if your illness can be linked to a restaurant or contaminated product. If there is a recall, this may be beneficial for your case. In some cases, there does not need to be a finding of bacteria in the food product to have a lawsuit for compensation. Contact our Salmonella lawyers for a free consultation.

Bad Bug Law TeamSpices have been linked to outbreaks, and lawyers on our Bad Bug Law Team have won money for people sickened in these outbreaks.

Compensation

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering (includes emotional distress)
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of potential earnings
  • Punitive damages upon clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others
  • Other damages

Possible compensation for families of victims:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Potential earnings
  • Loss of advice, comfort, assistance, protection, counsel and society
  • Punitive damages upon clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others

Associated FDA Spice Recalls

Following are FDA spice recalls associated with this outbreak:

1. Union International Food Co

March 30, 2009 – Union International Food Co. of Union City, CA is recalling 15-pound. and smaller size packages of the Lian How brand spices (a complete list of the products and sizes is attached) and Uncle Chen brand white pepper & black pepper (whole and ground) in 5oz. retail containers, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Officials investigating a multi-state Salmonella outbreak isolated Salmonella from an open container of Lian How White Pepper, which was found at a restaurant where some outbreak victims ate. Union International Food Co. is making every possible effort to protect our customers and the consuming public. We have discussed the matter with the California Department of Public Health and agreed to initiate a recall.

The Lian How brand spices are distributed in the states of California, Oregon and Washington to wholesalers, distributors, restaurant suppliers and restaurants. The Lian How brand products are packaged in 10 or 15lbs. boxes with plastic liners, 5-pound plastic jars or 5-pound plastic bags (and 2.2 pound foil bags of Wasabi powder). The Lian How brand products are not generally sold directly to the retail consumer. The Uncle Chen brand white & black pepper products (whole or ground) are sold at retail in 5oz. containers.

2. Uncle Chen and Lian How

April 2, 2009 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting the public to a voluntary recall by Union International Food Company (Union City, Calif.) of the company’s dry spice products. The recall is based on an investigation of an ongoing foodborne illness outbreak of Salmonella Rissen. This investigation is being conducted in collaboration with state health officials in California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The company’s products are distributed in these states and Arizona.

The dry spices being recalled were sold primarily to ethnic restaurants, wholesalers, and retail outlets under the brand names “Lian How” and “Uncle Chen.”  At this time, the distribution of products appears confined to the western region of the country.

The recalled products sold at retail outlets include 5-ounce plastic jars of the following Uncle Chen brand dry spices: Whole White Pepper, Ground White Pepper, Whole Black Pepper, and Ground Black Pepper.  The Lian How brand products are generally sold to restaurants and wholesalers; a full list of recalled products appears below.

A total of 42 cases of Salmonella Rissen infection have been reported to the CDC by health officials in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Most of the reported cases (33) are in California.

Information, including epidemiologic information and preliminary test results on samples collected, from health authorities in the affected states, links white and black pepper as foods possibly associated with illnesses. The FDA and California officials are inspecting the Union City, Calif. processing facility and have collected environmental and product samples.

The FDA advises consumers who may have purchased these dry spices to dispose of them.  Restaurants, retail outlets, and other purchasers should stop using the recalled dry spices immediately and dispose of them. Also, the public is advised to discard any food made with these products and to remove the dry spices from dispensers on consumer tables and at kitchen work stations. All equipment and utensils that have come into contact with these dry spices should be washed, rinsed and sanitized before further use.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.  Individuals who are experiencing these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately or go to an emergency room for evaluation.

3. Revised Recall

April 2, 2009 – Union International Food Co. of Union City, CA is recalling 15-pound. and smaller size packages of the Lian How brand dry spices and Uncle Chen brand black pepper (whole and ground) in 5oz. retail containers, Uncle Chen white pepper (whole and ground) in 5oz. retail containers and 5 pound plastic bags and the Uncle Chen brand Wasabi powder in 2.2 pound foil bags, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Officials are investigating a multi-state Salmonella outbreak isolated Salmonella from an open container of Lian How White Pepper, which was found at a restaurant where some outbreak victims ate. Union International Food Co. is making every possible effort to protect our customers and the consuming public.

We have discussed the matter with the California Department of Public Health and agreed to initiate a recall.

The Uncle Chen and Lian How brand spices are distributed in the states of California, Oregon and Washington to wholesalers, distributors, restaurant suppliers and restaurants. The Lian How brand products are packaged in 10 or 15lbs. boxes with plastic liners, 5-pound plastic jars or 5-pound plastic bags. The Lian How brand products are not generally sold directly to the retail consumer. The Uncle Chen brand white & black pepper products (whole or ground) are sold at retail in 5oz. containers. The Uncle Chen brand white pepper (whole or ground) is sold in 5-pound plastic bags.

The Uncle Chen brand Wasabi powder is sold in 2.2 pound foil bags. Only the products on the attached list are included in this recall. Union International Foods Company has ceased the production and distribution of these products as the FDA, California Department of Public Health and Union International Foods Co. continue the investigation as to nature and full extent of this potential contamination.

4. Another Update

April 3, 2009 – Union International Food Co. is further expanding the recall of Lian How brand and Uncle Chen brand dry spices to include all types of dry spice products in 15-pound and smaller containers (boxes, plastic bags & wide mouth jars) and 30-pound boxes and smaller packages of crushed chili because of a possible health risk..

The following additional dry spice products are being added at this time:

Cumin powder
Cloves
Crushed Chili powder
Dried Cloves Powder
Orange Peel Powder
Coriander Powder
Black Sesame Seed
Coriander
Pepper Corn Powder
Fennel Seed
White Sesame Seed
Fennel Seed Powder
Turmeric
Cinnamon Powder
Ginger Powder
Garlic Salt
Meat Tenderizer
Black Pepper Salt
Bay Leaves
Five Spicys powder
Nutmeg
Star Anise powder

Union International Food Co. of Union City, CA is recalling 15-pound and smaller size packages of the Lian How brand dry spices, 30-pound boxes and smaller size packages of Lian How crushed chili,Uncle Chen brand black pepper (whole and ground) in 5oz. retail containers, Uncle Chen white pepper (whole and ground) in 5oz. retail containers and 5 pound plastic bags and the Uncle Chen brand Wasabi powder in 2.2 pound foil bags, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Officials are investigating a multi-state Salmonella outbreak isolated Salmonella from an open container of Lian How White Pepper, which was found at a restaurant where some outbreak victims ate. Union International Food Co. is making every possible effort to protect our customers and the consuming public. We have discussed the matter with the California Department of Public Health and agreed to initiate a recall.

The Uncle Chen and Lian How brand spices are distributed in the states of California, Oregon and Washington to wholesalers, distributors, restaurant suppliers and restaurants. The Lian How brand products are packaged in 10 or 15lbs. boxes with plastic liners, 5-pound plastic jars or 5-pound plastic bags. The Lian How crushed chili is sold in 30-pound boxes, 8-pound boxes and 3-pound plastic jars. The Lian How brand products are not generally sold directly to the retail consumer. The Uncle Chen brand white & black pepper products (whole or ground) are sold at retail in 5oz. containers. The Uncle Chen brand white pepper (whole or ground) is sold in 5-pound plastic bags. The Uncle Chen brand Wasabi powder is sold in 2.2 pound foil bags. Only the products on the attached list are included in this recall.

Union International Foods Company has ceased the production and distribution of these products as the US FDA, the California Department of Public Health and Union International Foods Co. continue the investigation as to nature and full extent of this potential contamination.

5. Retail And Institutional Products

Union International Food Co. is further expanding the recall of Lian How brand and Uncle Chen brand retail and institutional products to include various size packages of all sauces, oils, and oil blends; in addition to all types of dry spice products in 15-pound and smaller containers (boxes, plastic bags & wide mouth jars) and 30-pound boxes and smaller packages of crushed chili BECAUSE THE PRODUCTS MAY BE CONTAMINATED WITH SALMONELLA. Read more about the sauces, oils and chili recall.

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