Portland family files suit in Veggie Booty food poisoning

Source of Article:  http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/portland_family_file_suit_in_v.html

The mother of a Portland-area toddler who was sickened by salmonella after eating a popular snack has filed suit against the company that makes Veggie Booty.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Circuit Court in Multnomah County, says the boy became severely ill when he was just over a year old, suffering a high fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Attorney Brian Ruff, who filed the suit on behalf of the boy's mother, Jennifer Pagliaro, says he was treated in a hospital and was sick for "awhile" but has since recovered.

The suit claims that the company, New York-based Robert's American Gourmet Food Inc., was negligent in allowing "unsafe and/or unsanitary food products to be packaged and sold the to public" and seeks a maximum of $192,000 in economic and noneconomic damages.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

Ruff said the family is hoping to negotiate a settlement but is filing suit before hitting a two-year statute of limitations on recovering medical expenses.

Two years ago, Robert's American Gourmet Food recalled the puffed corn-and-rice snack amid a nationwide outbreak that sickened at least 65 people, including four in Oregon.

They included the toddler in the Portland area and a boy in Bend. In April, that boy's mother, Chrissy Christoferson, went to Washington, D.C., to press Congress to overhaul the food safety system, which has been plagued by successive recalls and outbreaks of food poisoning.

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill which would give the Food and Drug Administration more authority and force all food manufacturers to enact safety programs and provide information to inspectors.

It also would increase the number of mandatory inspections by the FDA from once every 10 years to every four.

The bill has the support of the FDA, but critics say it does not go far enough to protect consumers.

-- Lynne Terry





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