The first lawsuit stemming from the Pistachio Salmonella outbreak in behalf of a Minnesota man who developed a Salmonella infection after eating Wonderful brand pistachios has been filed. The suit was filed today, March 17, 2016, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (Case 0:16-cv-00676)
According to the complaint, the man ate Wonderful pistachios in February and then became ill with symptoms of a Salmonella infection, including stomach cramps and diarrhea. He saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a Salmonella Montevideo infection through tests on a stool sample.
Further testing showed the strain that sickened the man was a genetic match to the strain linked to the outbreak strain that has sickened 11 other people from December 2015 to February 2016. And that strain matches the bacterial DNA on samples of raw pistachios.
“We hope that through the civil justice system, we can make Wonderful and other companies live up to their promises of safe products,” said Brendan Flaherty, a food safety attorney. “Take it from my client, when you get sick from a pathogen associated with fecal matter, you will do whatever you can to prevent that from happening to other people.”
A recall has been issued for Wonderful and other brands of pistachios including Paramount Farms, Trader Joe’s, Favorite Naturals and Nature’s Eats. The outbreak strain has also been isolated from samples of raw pistachios collected from Paramount Farms, where Wonderful pistachios are grown.
State and federal health officials have used DNA “fingerprinting” to identify case patients, who range in age from 9 years to 69 year old. They interviewed nine of those sickened, eight of them reported eating pistachios in the week before illness started. Five of them identified Wonderful as the brand of pistachios they ate before becoming ill.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Most people recover from this infection without m medical intervention, but some become so sick they must be hospitalized. Dehydration and sepsis are some of the causes for hospitalization. And even after recovery, some can have long term health consequences from this infection, including high blood pressure and reactive arthritis.