Taste of Chicago Salmonella Food Poisoning Lawsuits Starting to be Filed Due to Salad Served by Pars CoveJul 16, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
Reports of Salmonella food poisoning from the Taste of Chicago festival have reached 529 as two people who were sickened after eating the salad served at the Pars Cove booth have sued the restaurant, and many more lawsuits are expected to follow. Chicago Health Department officials have said they believe that shirazi salad served by Pars Cove was responsible for the Salmonella food poisoning outbreak.
Chicago residents Monica Roach, 49, and Willie Smith, 43, were the first people to file suit against the Pars Cove Restaurant. They each allege that the restaurant failed to properly inspect, store or package the food in a way that would prevent bacterial contamination. Roach claims that she sought medical attention after becoming ill with vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Tests confirmed that she was suffering from Salmonella poisoning. Smith alleges that he also became ill, but did not seek medical help. Both individuals said they ate at the Pars Cove booth during the festival. Roach is seeking $30,000 in damages, while Smith is seeking a lower, unspecified amount.
By noon on Monday, the Chicago Health Department said that it had received 529 reports of suspected Salmonella poisoning related to Pars Cove. Fifty of those have been confirmed as Salmonella, with 36 identified as the bacteria Salmonella Heidelberg. The health department also said that the shirazi, a salad of fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers, was their only suspect in the outbreak. Pars Cove, a popular Persian restaurant, ran a booth at the Taste of Chicago festival that served a variety of Middle Eastern dishes.
Salmonella is a potentially deadly type of food poisoning, symptoms of which include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Some victims of Salmonella will develop a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Reiter’s Syndrome can plague its victims for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis
The number of Salmonella cases related to Pars Cove surged over the weekend from just over one hundred on Friday. The Health Department said it attributes that jump to increased awareness on the part of the public to the Pars Cove contamination. On Monday evening, the health department said that the number of reported new cases was starting to taper off.
Officials for the Taste of Chicago festival have pointed out that the Pars Cove Salmonella outbreak was the first such occurrence at the festival in its 20 year history. They believe this is an isolated event, and don’t expect it to hurt the festivals attendance next year.