First Salmonella Rissen Spice Lawsuit Filed

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May 8, 2009. By Ron Simon

Houston, TX: The first lawsuit has been filed in the US stemming from a multi-state salmonella spice recall after an outbreak related to Lian How and Uncle Chen’s spices manufactured by Union International Food Company of Union City, California. The spices contained Salmonella Rissen – a very rare but potent strain of salmonella.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County on behalf of David Navarrette, a San Pedro, California resident who consumed food containing the contaminated spices at a buffet in Reno, Nevada and thereafter became violently ill. DNA testing has since confirmed that he contracted the exact strain of Salmonella Rissen isolated from Lian How white pepper collected from the restaurant.

Five other consumers who ate at the restaurant over a three month period also contracted this strain of salmonella.

"We are going to determine how these spices became contaminated to make sure it does not happen again" said attorney Ron Simon, who filed the lawsuit and represents other victims of the outbreak.

Health officials have reported 47 confirmed cases of Salmonella Rissen in four states, including California (38), Nevada (4), Oregon (4), and Washington (1).
Union International Food Company has ceased the production and distribution of the contaminated spices as the FDA and California Department of Public Health continue to investigate the nature and full extent of the outbreak. The contaminated spices have also been recalled.


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