Orange County California: Our office was retained by a recent victim of Salmonella poisoning caused by ingesting peanut butter produced by ConAgra. The case is simple, within an hour of ingesting peanut butter, she had to go to the hospital where she suffered greatly, and if not for the heroics of the hospital staff, she would have died. No one knew what the cause of the illness was until days later when a recall came of the peanut butter she had ingested. When our client’s husband checked the jar, opened and used the day of her illness, it was in fact the recalled product. Thank goodness none of their children had ingested the product. We represent victims of personal injury and product liability.
Our office put ConAgra on notice of the claim and tested the product by an independent lab. Testing confirmed the presence of Salmonella. ConAgra did nothing to investigate and ignored our client’s claim. Over $25,000 in medical expenses were incurred and one would think ConAgra would do the right thing and adjust the claim. Not so.
In recent correspondence, ConAgra insists they be given the entire jar of peanut butter for their own testing. They have refused to take a sample for testing or rely on our independent lab testing, even though this jar is the exact recall and production at issue. Of course turning the evidence over to ConAgra is not wise, as it may be lost, contaminated or “misplaced”. An injury claimant cannot take that risk and therefore litigation will be inevitable.
Note however that ConAgra was excited to report Friday that their product can now be sold again and is safe. Their president was quoted to the Associated Press as follows:
“Everyone who contacted ConAgra during the recall, including those who became ill after eating Peter Pan, will receive coupons for a free jar of the peanut butter, Palfenier said. We are obviously deeply concerned for those consumers who were affected by Peter Pan and (we) are taking, I’d say, extraordinary efforts to make that right,” Palfenier said.
This posting may tell you otherwise. Publicity and crisis management aside, the real question is whether a company that refuses to reasonably adjust past claims caused by their incompetance, can be trusted again with our health and that of our children. It is one thing to say you and your company will do the right thing, it is another to actually do it. I won’t be buying Peter Pan brand any time soon.