Listeria Lawsuit Filed in Louisiana Cheese Recall

Earlier last month, we wrote that the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Animal Health and Food Safety (LDAF) announced that Veron Foods, LLC, of Prairieville, Louisiana, recalled approximately 500,000 pounds of “ready to eat” sausage and hog head cheese products that may be contaminated with <"">Listeria monocytogenes. The recall was labeled a Class I, which means a health hazard situation exists in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

Now, 2theAdvocate reports that Gerard Gremillion, 75, spent over a month in intensive care after eating the recalled Veron Foods products and is suing the company. The lawsuit was filed this week in state District Court in Baton Rouge. Gremillion said he ate the recalled foods on May 18th and became “very ill,” going to the hospital on May 20th, wrote 2theAdvocate.

There, he was diagnosed with Listeriosis, the foodborne disease caused by the dangerous, sometimes deadly Listeria monocytogenes pathogen. Gremillion was then admitted to the intensive care unit, where he remained for more than one month and was just discharged from a rehabilitation center, said 2theAdvocate. Gremillion is not fully ambulatory and could suffer from long-term memory loss, said his attorney, wrote 2theAdvocate.

According to his lawsuit, Gremillion is alleging that his illness and injuries were a result of “the negligence” of Veron Foods and is seeking damages for—in part—“pain and suffering, medical expenses, physical disability, and loss of enjoyment of life,” wrote 2theAdvocate. His wife, Eva, a plaintiff in the case, is also seeking damages for loss of companionship, added 2theAdvocate, citing the lawsuit.

The problem was discovered through a food borne illness investigation that resulted in a product sample testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause Listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract Listeriosis; however, Listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths, and can also cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. Infection can spread to the nervous system, resulting in high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea, confusion, and convulsions.

Veron Foods general manager, Neal Sheets, refused to comment about the lawsuit yesterday, said 2theAdvocate; however he did say that, this week, Veron passed an inspection by the Agriculture and Forestry Department.

Veron Foods halted production when the recall announcement was released, according to Sheets, reported 2theAdvocate. Since, Veron Foods made a decision to permanently cease production of its hog head cheese.

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