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Peanut Butter Salmonella Poisoning
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Family sues ConAgra over woman's death

Feb 22, 2007 | AP A family filed a negligence and wrongful-death lawsuit against ConAgra Foods Inc., claiming a relative died from eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter.

No deaths have been confirmed in the salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter produced by the company, but the family of Roberta Barkay alleges the spread killed her and sickened her husband and daughter.

Barkay, 76, had been hospitalized with gastrointestinal problems, then developed a bacterial infection before she died Jan. 30, said her lawyer, Rob Peirce.

Her husband, William, was sick with similar symptoms late last year, after the Barkays bought the peanut butter, according to the lawyer and the lawsuit that was filed Wednesday. Their daughter also got sick after eating the peanut butter while at her parents' home for her mother's funeral, Peirce said.

Roberta Barkay was not tested for salmonella, but Peirce said the peanut butter the family ate was part of the batch ConAgra recalled last week. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value brands of peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant since May. Federal officials said last week that the salmonella outbreak sickened nearly 300 people nationwide since August.

ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said the firm cannot comment on pending litigation. Across the country, at least four other lawsuits claim negligence by the company led to the salmonella illnesses.

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