Dr. Mike Hauser, a 68-year-old-podiatrist from Monument, CO, was eating cantaloupe to stay healthy while recovering from a rare blood cancer known as myeloma. He and several others eventually became horribly sick, and many died a painful death as a result of a listeria infection from the tainted fruit.
Several Colorado families with similar stories have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Kroger Company, a Cincinnati-based grocery store chain that was the source of a deadly listeria outbreak in 2011.
In response, Kroger has filed a cross claim naming third-party food-safety auditor Primus Group as a co-defendant in the lawsuits, claiming that they have “primary liability” for the outbreak.
Listeria is a foodborne disease that most often affects those with weakened immune systems, as well as pregnant women, newborns and the elderly. The disease is contracted by eating tainted food, and has a mortality rate of about 20 percent.
The 2011 outbreak – which resulted in 33 deaths and 147 illnesses nationwide – was traced back to a shipment of cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Holly, CO. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected their cantaloupe packing facility, they found the source of the listeria contamination as well as multiple other food safety violations.
Kroger claims that Primus “misrepresented the conditions and practices at Jensen Farms… giving it a superior rating despite the existence of conditions and practices that should have caused a failure of the facility.”
According to Kroger’s claim, Primus should have known that retailers would trust the 96 percent superior audit score and consider the cantaloupe safe to eat. Kroger hopes to prove that any negligence was on Primus’s part, not theirs.
Is the Food in My Grocery Store Safe?
As a society, we often trust third-parties like the FDA and food auditors to make sure that the food we eat and the products we use are safe. When they fail to do their jobs properly, the results can be catastrophic.
The death of a loved one is always hard on the surviving family, but the recovery can be stifled by anger and resentment when they realize the death could have prevented. If your loved one’s death was a result of negligence, call Metier Law Firm to discuss your wrongful death case. Our experienced attorneys work with an extensive network of medical experts to help prove your case, and get justice for your loved one.
[Did You Know: A 2011 listeria outbreak, caused by tainted cantaloupe, was the most deadly food outbreak in the U.S. in almost 100 years.]
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