July 23, 2024

Botulism Lawsuit: Nacho Cheese Sickens 5 at CA Valley Oak Food and Fuel

The botulism outbreak at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California appears to have been caused by prepared food, “particularly nacho cheese sauce,” according to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services. Five people have been hospitalized with foodborne botulism after eating food purchased from that facility. And the press releases states there is a sixth patient who may also have botulism food poisoning.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

This conclusion is based on “preliminary data,” according to the press release. The sale of prepared food at that gas station was ended by the Sacramento County Department of Environmental Management on May 5, 2017.

Public health officials are asking that anyone who ate prepared food, especially nacho cheese sauce, from Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California, from April 23, 2017 through May 5, 2017, and has the symptoms of botulism contact their medical provider immediately. Botulism can be fatal.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker said, “this type of food poisoning can affect some people for life.” Call Fred at 1-888-377-8900.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented clients sickened with botulism in lawsuits against corporations, said, “We need to know more about this outbreak and how this suspected food was contaminated. Did the product need refrigeration? Was it prepared on site? What were the conditions in the kitchen when food was made? And what company sold this food or ingredients used to make it to Valley Oak Food and Fuel?”

The symptoms of botulism food poisoning can vary by person. Sometimes the first symptoms are nausea and vomiting. More typical early symptoms include dry mouth, double vision, blurred vision, and drooping eyelids. As paralysis progresses downward through the body, patients have difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, and then general muscle weakness. When the paralysis reaches the chest, muscles that control breathing can be immobilized.

Treatment is with an anti-toxin that is only available through hospitals, which request it from the government. Early treatment with the anti-toxin can increase the odds of a good outcome. In fact, up to 65% of botulism patients who do not receive the anti-toxin die, but when the anti-toxin is given early, the death rate drops to 6%. Other supportive care, such as artificial respiration, may be needed as the patient recovers..

The five, possibly six, patients in this outbreak are all hospitalized in serious condition. We do not know their ages or if any of the patients are children.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully represents people harmed by adulterated food products in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients and the families of clients, including the largest dollar verdict in American history for a child injured by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected source for food safety news and information. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are regularly interviewed by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.


  1. Tami Hastings says

    I am glad that, I have not eaten any Gehl cheese sauce recently. It used to be a favorite of mine, perfect for a quick tasty lunch in the field. But, I had noticed that the taste of the Gehl cheese sauce had lost the rich cheesy flavor, that it used to have and is not as appealing to me anymore. I am sorry for the loss of life, 37 years old is much to young to die.

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