The family of Shirley Almer, one of nine people who died after consuming products made with Salmonella-contaminated peanuts produced by Peanut Corporation of America, filed a lawsuit against Kanan Enterprises of Solon, Ohio, maker of King Nut peanut butter, last week. The lawsuit, which was filed by Almer’s son, Jeffrey Almer and his attorneys at the Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark, was filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota (Case number 0:10-cv-04783-MJD –JSM).
“King Nut had a responsibility to Mrs. Almer, her family, and anyone else eating King Nut peanut butter to produce a safe product. That responsibility involves ensuring suppliers are providing unadulterated ingredients”
According to the complaint, Shirley Mae Almer consumed a peanut butter-based product manufactured by King Nut in 2008 when she was a resident of the Good Samaritan Society – Bethany Rehabilitation Center in Brainerd, Minnesota. On December 12, 2008 Ms. Almer began to suffer gastrointestinal pains. Over the next several days her condition worsened, and she was hospitalized. Ms. Almer was pronounced dead by causes related to a Salmonella infection December 21. Weeks later, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued a product safety advisory based on positive tests for Salmonella in a King Nut container of peanut butter. The next day King Nut voluntarily recalled all of its peanut butter products made with Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) products for potential Salmonella contamination.
“King Nut had a responsibility to Mrs. Almer, her family, and anyone else eating King Nut peanut butter to produce a safe product. That responsibility involves ensuring suppliers are providing unadulterated ingredients,” said Bill Marler, attorney for the Almer family.
King Nut was one of hundreds of companies that recalled products made with Salmonella-contaminated peanuts purchased from the now defunct PCA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed 714 cases of illness and 9 deaths to PCA products.