Louisville woman sickened by salmonella sues Indianapolis produce plant

A Louisville woman has filed a federal lawsuit because she was hospitalized with salmonella from pre-cut melon.
Updated: Apr. 17, 2019 at 11:37 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville woman has filed a federal lawsuit because she was hospitalized with salmonella from pre-cut melon.

Tammy France, 50, bought the fruit from a local Kroger store in March.

Now, she’s suing Kroger and the Indianapolis produce plant Caito Foods LLC for $75,000.

The lawsuit alleges France spent a whole week in the hospital with a case of salmonella poisoning she came down with after eating pre-cut melon.

Caito had to recall cubes of watermelon, honey dew and cantaloupe. Salmonella infected 93 people across 9 states.

“This has been a really bad outbreak," Jory Lange, a national food poisoning attorney, said. "A lot of people have gotten sick and a number of people that have been to the hospital.”

During this outbreak, the CDC reported 23 hospitalizations.

“I think a lot of people think that food poisoning is a tummy bug for a day or two and then you’re done,” Lange said. “In our experience with this, there are a lot of people that have much more serious problems and they have to go to the hospital and have recurring health affects as a result of this.”

Lange is representing France and other families in this outbreak.

This was the fourth recall in under a year for Caito Foods. For two of the four recalls, no one reported any illness. There was a recall in July of salad potentially contaminated with Cyclospora and an October recall of pre-made meals that possibly were contaminated with listeria or salmonella.

“One of the disturbing things about this outbreak is this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a salmonella outbreak from pre-cut melon from the same Indianapolis plant,” Lange said.

The attorney said he’s still involved in cases from the last time salmonella stemmed from Caito’s melons.

The CDC reported 77 cases in nine states with 36 hospitalizations last June. The FDA never pinned down the source. They’re investigating Caito’s plant again to figure out where things are going wrong.

Caito Foods hasn’t received any warning letters from the FDA in its past and will not comment on pending litigation.

Kroger officials also said they cannot comment, but said providing customers with safe food is always the highest priority.

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