Castleberry Botulism Outbreak – Legal Recourse

In 2007, seven people became severely ill and one victim died after consuming hot dog chili sauce made by Castleberry’s Food Company. An FDA investigation revealed that all of the affected persons had contracted botulism bacteria found in improperly pasteurized cans of Castleberry’s chili sauce. The company issued a recall of 10 million pounds of canned meat sold under 27 brand names. In addition, Castleberry’s Food Company had to face several botulism lawsuits brought forth by victims who had suffered serious botulism complications, such as respiratory failure, paralysis and difficulty swallowing and talking.

Castleberry’s Botulism Outbreak

Between June 29 and August 7, 2007, two people in Indiana, three persons in Georgia and three people in Ohio began experiencing a variety of troubling symptoms, including vertigo, blurred vision, difficulty talking and swallowing, and extreme fatigue. After being admitted to the hospital, all eight persons were diagnosed with a rare but potentially life-threatening disease: botulism. In accordance with botulism outbreak protocol, the medical personnel informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an institution that dispenses the botulism antitoxin and conducts botulism outbreak investigations.

The botulism disease in all eight victims was linked to Castleberry’s hot dog chili sauce that tested positive for botulism bacteria. A further investigation revealed that the chili sauce had been made at an Atlanta, Georgia, plant with defective equipment. The canner at the facility was found to have broken alarms, a leaky valve and an inaccurate temperature device. As a result, the cans of chili sauce were not properly pasteurized, which allowed the botulism spores to grow and release a dangerous nerve toxin. In fact, some of the chili cans were so infested with the botulism toxin that they were bursting.

Castleberry’s Botulism Lawsuits

All of the botulism victims suffered serious botulism complications and had to be hospitalized for extended periods of time. Due to breathing difficulties caused by the botulism toxin, many had to be put on mechanical ventilators. In addition, Castleberry’s botulism victims suffered varying degrees of muscle paralysis. In fact, one 52-year-old man became paralyzed from the head to his feet; he also suffered respiratory arrest and other complications that led to a slow, painful death. In order to hold Castleberry’s Food Company responsible for her brother’s suffering, the surviving sister filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Castleberry.

Since then, several surviving victims of Castleberry’s botulism outbreak have filed personal injury lawsuits seeking remuneration for their physical and emotional suffering, lost wages, reduced future income and long-term diminution in lifestyle. While not admitting its responsibility, Castleberry’s Food Company has settled some of the lawsuits, such as that brought forth by the parents of Marissa and Samuel Cisneros, two children who had to be hospitalized after consuming Castleberry’s hot dog chili sauce.

Contacting a Skilled Botulism Lawyer

Recognizing the immense suffering botulism can cause victims and their families, the law offices of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz are committed to helping them obtain justice. The experienced botulism lawyers at AWKO carefully review each case to determine if the food manufacturers and/or distributors acted negligently by supplying consumers with dangerous products. If you suspect that your illness or the botulism symptoms of your loved one were caused by a defective product, contact AWKO Law at (844) 794-7402 today. In addition to helping victims of botulism food poisoning obtain justice, AWKO attorneys specialize in E. coli, diphyllobothriasis, listeria, salmonella, and other food poisoning cases.