Couple sues over tainted crackers

Published on Fri, Mar 13, 2009 by Jack Kintner

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A Blaine couple, Bill and Shannon Rector, filed a lawsuit on March 6 in U.S. District Court in Seattle against the Kellogg company alleging that the company’s Austin brand peanut butter crackers made their family sick because it was tainted with salmonella.

Bill Rector got sick last January 15. He went to the St. Joseph Hospital emergency room, was treated and released but returned to the hospital the next day and stayed for the next three days. On January 17 their daughter Payton got sick and was admitted to St. Joseph and she also stayed for three days.

Kellogg issued a precautionary recall on the crackers on January 14, the day before Bill Rector got sick, but the Rectors had been eating them since December and had just begun to feel symptoms. The suit seeks unspecified financial damages due to medical expenses, medical and emotional distress and possible future medical problems.

While in the hospital both Bill and Payton Rector tested positive for the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium that was traced back to the Peanut Corporation of America processing plants in Blakely, Georgia and Plainview, Texas, the same month. The plants, now shut down, had provided peanut butter and peanut paste used by many other food processors. As a result, dozens of companies have recalled almost 3000 products, making it one of the largest food recalls in American history. More than 600 people in 44 states have come down with a salmonella infection traced to that source.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains a website where consumers may check a growing list of recalled products at www.fda.gov.