E.coli Lawsuit Filed After Infant Gets Sick

Reported by: Jennifer Denman


Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 @06:49pm CST

Source of Article: http://ozarksfirst.com/content/fulltext/?cid=42231



A Monett, Missouri mother speaks out about a major lawsuit over her son's life-threatening illness.

The Pedersen family is suing Soni Copeland and The Herb Depot and Organic Market in Monett.  The family says their son got E.coli from some raw milk bought at that market.

KOLR/KSFX sat down with Angela Pedersen to hear what she had to say about the lawsuit.  Angela didn't want us to show her son, who's still recovering from a long hospital stay.  She says he just went through a battle for his life.

"It was a living hell.  I wouldn't wish that upon anyone," says Pedersen.

It's hard for Pedersen to look back on the last few months.  She almost lost her son Larry, who was not even a year old, to E-Coli.

"I don't know how many days I would look at my son and I didn't know if he was going to take another breath," says Pedersen.

Pedersen says Larry contracted the disease from raw milk she bought at the Herb Depot and Organic Market in Monett.  The family's now suing that business.  Pedersen says back in April she went to the store to buy almond milk.  She says she was then told about the benefits of raw milk.
"We were approached and told that the goat's milk would be a better alternative.  It's healthier than breast milk and it would be wonderful for him. We agreed to try it," says Pedersen.

Just days later, Pedersen says her son got very sick.

"It began with upset stomach, diarrhea and basically key thing and what all parents need to watch out for is blood in the stool," says Pedersen.

Larry was diagnosed with E.coli and quickly developed life-threatening complications.  He did recover after 30 days, but the family says having kidney damage changes you for life.
"We are just grateful we've gotten through it and that we have our son, "says Pedersen.

He's healthy now, but lawyers for the family say what the market did was illegal.  According to court documents, a retail shop in Missouri isn't allowed to sell raw milk.  It can be sold from a dairy farm or delivered personally by the farmer.  

The lawsuit accuses the Herb Depot of selling the raw milk and encouraging the Pedersen's to buy it. It also says the milk was contaminated with E.coli at the time it was sold.  
KOLR/KSFX contacted the Herb Depot and spoke with Soni Copeland. Copeland says she would like to talk about the lawsuit, but has been advised by her lawyer not to.
Angela Pedersen says she understands there are many people who believe in drinking raw milk, but says from now on, she's sticking to what she knows and remaining thankful for what she has.

"Every day, every second, every time I look at my kids I am thankful." says Pederson.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office says it's also filing suit against the company for violating the law.

Many people still drink raw milk because when produced under humane and sanitary conditions, it contains natural enzymes, antibodies, as well as vitamins A and D.


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