William Marler, the Seattle attorney who made a name for himself representing Jack in the Box customers exposed to the E. coli bacteria in undercooked hamburger, said he plans to file as many as 148 cases against Sheetz Inc. and now-defunct tomato supplier Coronet Foods Inc. concerning allegedly salmonella-infested tomatoes, reported The West Virginia Record.
The salmonella outbreak occurred in July 2004. Pennsylvania health officials determined early on in their investigation that there was no evidence of insufficient cooking or hygiene on the part of Sheetz. The CDC quickly determined the source of contamination was from Roma tomatoes that Sheetz bought from Wheeling, W. Va.-based Coronet, which got them from a Florida tomato packing house.
Highly regarded for one of the premier foodservice programs in the convenience store industry, Sheetz has been widely praised for its handling of the outbreak. Shortly after the incident occurred, the family-run chain immediately discontinued using Roma tomatoes from Coronet, and it stopped buying and processing Roma tomatoes pending its own investigation.
Coronet shut down and filed for bankruptcy in November 2004.