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New Jersey family files suit in wake of dog food recall

A New Jersey family is the first to file a federal lawsuit against the dog food company responsible for a recent salmonella contamination scare. The dog food was sold under several different brand names and was apparently responsible for at least 15 people becoming sick with salmonella poisoning.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family’s two-month-old child, who got sick in early April and has sustained injuries to his gastrointestinal tract that may result in significant liver or kidney damage. These types of injuries give rise to general negligence claims as well as claims under state laws such as the New Jersey’s Product Liability Act.

The Food and Drug Administration found unsanitary conditions at the plant where the dog food was manufactured. The recall was initiated following routine testing of the pet product that showed salmonella contamination.

It is not clear exactly how the child contracted the salmonella, although a bag of the recalled dog food was in the home at the time of the illness. The specific bag did not test positive, but the family’s attorney told reporters that the bacteria doesn’t spread evenly throughout a product and may have been present in only a portion of the food which was already consumed by the family dogs.  The child did test positive for the same strain of salmonella that was associated with the recall.

Lawsuits like this typically seek compensation for any costs associated with the illness in the past and in the future. Many plaintiffs also choose to seek damages for the emotional suffering caused by the dangerous product.

Source: Daily Business Review, “Infant Allegedly Got Salmonella From Contact With Dog Food,” Mary Pat Gallagher, May 29, 2012.

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