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Pepperidge Farm Sued over Contaminated Goldfish Crackers


Earlier this month, a Mississippi woman filed a claim in federal court, claiming she was sickened with salmonella poisoning after eating contaminated Goldfish Crackers, which were subject to a nationwide recall this year.

Bailey Finch, a 26-year-old Columbus, Mississippi resident filed suit against Pepperidge Farm, as well as Associated Milk Producers, which is an ingredient supplier to Pepperidge Farm. This is the first lawsuit filed in connection with the voluntary recall of four varieties of the crackers.

According to her lawsuit, Finch became “extremely ill with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,” on the night of July 19, 2018- the same day that she consumed a package of the Goldfish crackers, which she purchased from a local grocery store on July 18, 2018. Then, on July 24, 2018, Finch was hospitalized due to salmonella poisoning. The complaint further states that “she was tested for salmonella bacteria and positive test results for the salmonella bacteria were confirmed on July 26, 2018.”

Initially, Finch was treated at DCH Hospital in Tuscaloosa for “severe stomach problems,” but was then taken to the UAB University Hospital in Birmingham where she underwent treatment for complications caused by salmonella. This treatment was on-going for four days. Finch was taken to UAB with “organ failure and collapsed veins.”

When Pepperidge Farm announced the Goldfish recall on July 23, 2018, the company stated that no illness had been reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating potential illnesses related to the recalled products.

The voluntary recall stated that four products had the “potential presence of Salmonella,” and that the decision to make the recall was “made out of an abundance of caution.” The four flavors of Goldfish subject to the recall were the following:

  • Flavor Blastedâ Xtra Cheddar;
  • Flavor Blastedâ Sour Cream & Onion;
  • Goldishâ Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar; and
  • Goldfishâ Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel.

The salmonella contamination is believed to have originated from the dry whey powder used to season the Goldfish crackers. According to the lawsuit, as well as the FDA, the powder is supplied by Associated Milk Producers.

In her lawsuit, Finch claims that she could have avoided the risks of developing the salmonella poisoning had the two named defendants provided adequate warnings that the crackers were unreasonably dangerous. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages on claims of strict liability and negligence.

Salmonella poisoning typically lasts 4 to 7 days, and the symptoms usually include diarrhea, fever, and cramps, which can take up to 72 hours to develop. The bacteria lives in the intestinal tracks of warm-blooded mammals, including humans, after the transmission from a contaminated food. Those with weakened immune systems, including children, the elderly, and pregnant women are those at the highest risk.

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