Malt-O-Meal Salmonella Outbreak – Legal Recourse
In April, 2009, Malt-O-Meal issued a large-scale recall of its unsweetened puffed rice and unsweetened puffed wheat cereals after salmonella were found in these products. Salmonella are dangerous bacteria that can cause severe diarrheal illness characterized by stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever. While in most cases salmonellosis victims fully recover within 10 days, every year about 600 Americans die due to salmonellosis complications. Sadly, most of the salmonellosis-related deaths occur in young children and immunocompromised persons, such as cancer patients and individuals living with an organ transplant.
Malt-O-Meal Salmonellosis Outbreak
On March 24, 2009, salmonella bacteria were discovered at Malt-O-Meal Minnesota facilities. After an investigation of a potential salmonellosis contamination, Malt-O-Meal recalled all of its unsweetened puffed rice and puffed wheat products with “Best If Used By” codes between April 8, 2008 and March 18, 2009. The recall covered products sold under the Malt-O-Meal brand, as well as cereals carrying various private labels, including Hannaford, Shaw’s, Food Club, Laura Lynn and ShopRite.
While the recall might have helped prevent the spread of salmonellosis, the salmonella-tainted Malt-O-Meal products sickened scores of people nonetheless. By May 2009, 23 confirmed salmonellosis cases linked to the Malt-O-Meal cereal were reported from 14 states. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that several hundred additional cases might have gone unreported.
Malt-O-Meal Salmonellosis Lawsuits
Every time a food-borne disease outbreak is suspected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) perform a thorough investigation to discover the source of the infection. In the case of the Malt-O-Meal salmonellosis outbreak, the CDC discovered that all of the sickened individuals were infected with the same strain of Salmonella Agona. An inspection of the Malt-O-Meal facilities yielded a strain of salmonella genetically indistinguishable from the one with which the victims were infected. This discovery is important because salmonellosis victims can use it to prove that their illness was caused by defective Malt-O-Meal products. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the company, victims might be able to obtain compensation for the damages caused by the illness, such as medical expenses, lost wages, reduced future income, physical pain and emotional suffering.
The 2009 salmonella epidemic was not the first salmonella outbreak at the Malt-O-Meal facilities. In 1998, salmonella-contaminated Malt-O-Meal cereal products sickened thousands of individuals, many of whom filed personal injury lawsuits against the company. The suits were settled in 2002 when Malt-O-Meal agreed to provide more than 1,000 plaintiffs with $2 million in damages.
Contacting a Skilled Salmonellosis Lawyer
If you believe that you contracted salmonella after consuming tainted Malt-O-Meal cereal products, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz at (844) 794-7402 to learn about your legal rights and determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit might be beneficial. In addition to handling salmonella food poisoning cases, the Pensacola, Florida attorneys of AWKO Law specialize in resolving legal issues arising from E. coli, fish tapeworm infection, botulism and shigella cases.