Salmonella Tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter Caused Indiana Girl to Suffer Sever Kidney Damage - Family SuesJun 18, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP An 11-year-old girl in need of a kidney transplant was one of two plaintiffs to file suit against ConAgra Foods last week, saying that the company’s Salmonella-tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter was to blame for her kidney failure. Her case is only the latest of what legal experts say will be hundreds of lawsuits stemming from ConAgra’s recall of contaminated peanut butter earlier this year.
Krystina Burgh, the little girl named in the Indiana suit, first became ill in January 2007 with what her parents thought was a stomach flu. Unfortunately, her symptoms became worse and she had to be hospitalized. Krystina was found to be suffering from Salmonella, a food-borne illness that causes serious vomiting and diarrhea. The lawsuit alleges that, that her disease was extremely severe and progressed to the point of damaging her kidneys. Krystina’s parents say that her symptoms appeared shortly after she had eaten Peter Pan Peanut Butter. The jar their daughter had been eating from had a product code that started with 211, indicating that the peanut butter came from the same infected lot that Con-Agra would end up recalling in February.
According to the lawsuit, Krystina continues to suffer the effects of the tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Her parents say that she is exhausted every night by 6:00 p.m. Krystina, who spends a good portion of the night hooked up to a dialysis machine, is expected to undergo a kidney transplant in Chicago on June 18th. She will be receiving one of her father’s kidneys.
Timothy Harper, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, is also suing Con-Agra. Harper claims that he had to be hospitalized with Salmonella poisoning after eating the same brand of the peanut butter. He is accusing ConAgra foods of negligence, and is charging that the company with violating the Tennessee Products Liability Act.
Salmonella poisoning was first noticed in Tennessee in November 2006, it is thought that the first illnesses may have occurred as early as March 2006. It wasn’t until February 2007 that the CDC was able to trace the source of the illness to peanut butter produced by a ConAgra factory in Sylvester. Georgia. That same month, ConAgra finally issued a recall of its Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter produced at that factory. Last month, the CDC announced that 628 people nationwide had become sick over salmonella-tainted peanut butter.
In April 2007, the Washington Post published documents proving that the FDA, as well as ConAgra, knew of contamination problems at the Georgia plant as far back as 2004. The agency took few corrective measures, assuming that ConAgra would address the situation itself. Unfortunately, whatever the company did was not enough to prevent the Salmonella outbreak.
ConAgra plans to reintroduce Peter Pan in July. The company says it will contract with another factory to make the peanut butter until renovations are completed at the Sylvester plant. Those renovations are supposed to eliminate the moisture problems that ConAgra says contributed to the Salmonella poisoning.