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First Salmonella Lawsuit Filed By Ron Simon Against Costco for Tainted Norwegian Smoked Salmon.

HOUSTON, Sept. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today national food safety lawyer Ron Simon filed the first salmonella lawsuit against Costco and Norwegian-based Foppen stemming from a salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated Foppen smoked salmon sold at Costco stores nationwide. A copy of the lawsuit is attached.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Plaintiff Lorena Vasquez, a 39-year old resident of Mission, Texas.

In September 2012, Mrs. Vasquez purchased a package of Foppen Norwegian Smoked Salmon Slices from the Costco located in Pharr, Texas.

Shortly after consuming the salmon, Lorena experienced symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, and related dehydration. Lorena was quickly diagnosed with salmonellosis.

As a result of her illness, Mrs. Vasquez was hospitalized, underwent multiple surgeries, and has incurred over $67,000 in medical bills to date. Doctors have since diagnosed Mrs. Vasquez with irritable bowel syndrome as a result of her salmonella illness, which will continue to cause her significant pain and complications for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Simon issued the following statement from his Houston offices this morning: "We are going to get to the bottom of why Costco and Foppen had no safeguards to prevent rampant contamination in their salmon products. This lawsuit will give us the answers which should keep this from happening again."

The Costco / Foppen Salmonella Thompson Outbreak

In the late summer and fall of 2012, the Netherlands experienced its largest food-borne bacterial outbreak in history. The pathogen was Salmonella Thompson, which traditionally appears annually in single or low double-digit numbers in the Netherlands.

By August of 2012, approximately 60 culture-confirmed cases of Salmonella Thompson had been identified; in September, over 120 more were identified; in October, nearly 900 victims had tested positive; and in November and December, approximately 100 more were identified. By December, the count of new cases had slowed to about 20, and by January 2013, the outbreak was deemed over.

As soon as health officials in the Netherlands recognized that they were in the midst of a national outbreak, investigators and epidemiologists from the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) began to engage in a massive trace-back and epidemiological investigation.

It took investigators six weeks to determine and announce that smoked salmon was the source of the Salmonella Thompson illnesses. The salmon was the product of Foppen Paling & Zalm ("Foppen") of Harderwijk, the Netherlands. Almost immediately thereafter, Foppen announced that the massive contamination of its salmon by Salmonella Thompson had occurred at its processing plant in Preveza, Greece.

By December of 2012, the RIVM had identified 1200 culture-confirmed victims, including four fatalities.

Costco Sold Foppen's Contaminated Smoked Salmon in the United States

Significantly, Foppen's contaminated smoked salmon was also distributed in the United States. According to Foppen company spokesman Bart de Vries, Foppen had only one U.S. customer - Costco - who had purchased large amounts of the fish.

On Monday, October 1, 2012, Costco initiated a recall and removal of the smoked salmon. Craig Wilson, vice president of Costco, confirmed that the company was also in the process of contacting the 247,000 members who had purchased the contaminated salmon.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Vasquez did not receive notice of the recall until after she had become ill.

Harald Wychgel, a spokesman for the Dutch public health institute, reported that as of October 2, 2012, his agency had received information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that at least 100 U.S. residents had been sickened with the identical strain of Salmonella Thompson found in Foppen's contaminated smoked salmon.

Mr. Wychgel's announcement was consistent with information provided by several states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all of which were conducting investigations of a spike in Salmonella Thompson cases in the United States.

These investigations were confirmed by a CDC spokesperson, Lola Russell, who stated that the CDC was investigating a spike in Salmonella Thompson illnesses in the US since September 2012, and that at least 10 people had been hospitalized.

About Ron Simon

Over the last 20 years, Ron Simon and his colleagues have prosecuted thousands of food poisoning cases for victims across the United States. His work has resulted in numerous upgrades to food safety procedures in Fortune 500 companies and in legislation designed to protect consumers from dangerous food-borne pathogens.

Mr. Simon and his clients have been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and virtually all other major television networks and print media. Mr. Simon has collected over $600,000,000 for his clients. He regularly publishes articles about food safety and litigation at www.foodpoisoningnews.com which are read by viewers in over 180 countries.

Through litigation, media commentary, and his food poisoning publications, Mr. Simon relentlessly challenges food manufacturers, distributors, and restaurants to do a better job in making our food safe.

For media inquiries or more information on this outbreak and ongoing litigation, please contact Ron Simon directly at (713) 819-8116 or ron@rsaalaw.com.

PDF - http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/FX-Ron-Simon-Costco-Petition.pdf

SOURCE Ron Simon
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Date:Sep 10, 2014
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