An Ohio woman whose mother became ill and went into a coma has filed the first lawsuit in a listeria outbreak health officials have linked to Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc.’s Springfield, Ohio, plant, according to The Packer.
In the lawsuit filed March 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Constance Georgostathis said her 77-year-old mother, Kiki Christofield, became ill after consuming a portion of a packaged salad mix on Jan. 20 or Jan. 21 that was produced at the Springfield plant. The salad, purchased by the daughter at a Kroger store, tested positive for listeria by the Ohio Department of Health, according to the lawsuit.
Christofield felt unwell on Jan. 23 and was taken by ambulance on Jan. 26 to Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati, according to the lawsuit. She was released from the hospital but became ill again and was taken back on Jan. 31, where her condition deteriorated and she became comatose by the end of the day, according to the suit. She remains a patient at the hospital.
Georgostathis is represented by Seattle-based attorney William Marler, who has represented plaintiffs in a number of high-profile food safety cases in the past.
“People tend to think of fresh foods as safe from foodborne pathogens,” Marler said in a statement. “Listeria is typically a pathogen found in processing establishments rather than coming from growing fields. We are interested to know what environmental testing at Dole’s Springfield facility in the months preceding this outbreak showed.”
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