William Marler, a food safety advocate and attorney whose Seattle law firm, Marler Clark (www.marlerclark.com), has been contacted by five victims of a Salmonella outbreak traced to the consumption of Veggie Booty snack food, which is marketed by Robert’s American Gourmet, of Sea Cliff, New York, today called on the manufacturer to pay the medical bills of all individuals who became ill with Salmonella infections as part of the outbreak.

“Health officials have indicated that the strain of Salmonella found in the Veggie Booty, Salmonella Wandsworth, causes a particularly severe illness in comparison to other strains of Salmonella,” Marler said. “Most of the victims of this outbreak were children whose parents took them to a health care provider for medical treatment. It is only fair for the manufacturer to reimburse families for medical expenses incurred due to consumption of their product.”

In a warning to consumers yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 52 people in 17 states that were part of the outbreak. FDA reported that most victims of the outbreak were children under 10 years old.

“The parents we’ve been contacted by believed they were feeding their children a healthy snack, not something that could kill them,” Marler added. “Some of these kids have been sick for weeks.”

Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States. Salmonellosis, the illness caused by ingestion of Salmonella, is the second most common foodborne illness after Campylobacter infection. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of Salmonellosis occur each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are food-related. Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000 cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections each year. For more information about Salmonella, visit www.about-Salmonella.com.

Marler and his law partners in Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illnesses. Marler Clark currently represents 93 victims of last fall’s E. coli outbreak traced to contaminated spinach grown in California’s Salinas Valley and over 4,000 victims of the Salmonella outbreak that was recently traced to Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter. Marler comments on foodborne illness outbreaks and litigation at www.marlerblog.com.