If two-year-old Nicholas Avalone doesn't request a Peter Pan-themed birthday party next year, his parents won't be too surprised. Nicholas, along with about 300 other people across the country, contracted Salmonella poisoning after eating tainted Peter Pan peanut butter in February.
Nicholas' parents filed suit in the Western District of New York against ConAgra Foods Inc., the maker of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, alleging ConAgra failed to follow proper safety regulations. Both Nicholas and his father suffered gastrointestinal illnesses after consuming the tainted product.
After the FDA warned consumers that peanut butter was the source of the Salmonella outbreak, ConAgra recalled all of the potentially contaminated peanut butter. The recall, however, came too late for the Avalone family and potentially hundreds of other people.
"We have been contacted by [more than] 500 people who experienced gastrointestinal illnesses for months, but most--like [the plaintiffs]--never considered that peanut butter could be a source of illness until they heard about the recall," said Bill Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark who is representing the plaintiffs.
So far, plaintiffs have filed at least three separate suits against ConAgra over peanut butter-related illnesses.