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December 20, 2007: Arby’s, Salmonella-Contaminated Roast Beef and Super-Sized Arrogance

Arby’s, Taco Bell, Taco Johns, and Dole represent just a few of the restaurants and food companies that have been linked to major food poisoning outbreaks over the past year and a half.

While many of these companies have taken responsibility for making people ill by covering medical expenses and lost wages, to date Arby’s has left its victims and former patrons out in the cold.

Between August 21 and November 16, 2006, there were 72 confirmed cases of Salmonella food poisoning linked to eating Salmonella-contaminated roast beef at an Arby’s located on Ashley Street in Valdosta, Georgia. Twenty-six percent of those cases resulted in hospitalizations, and one death may be connected to the outbreak.

Following a thorough investigation, Georgia state and local public health officials discovered that a defective meat slicer and Salmonella-contaminated roast beef were responsible for the outbreak.

The following excerpts from the Georgia Department of Human Resources report, dated December 22, 2006, links the outbreak to the Ashley Street Arby’s. The report was entitled: “Outbreak of Salmonella serotype Montevideo infection associated with a fast food restaurant in Valdosta, Georgia.” The report is available to the public.

Report Summary:

This report describes an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Montevideo infections associated with a fast food restaurant in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. The outbreak was identified through Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) surveillance. Seventy-two case-patients with indistinguishable S.[Salmonella] Montevideo Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns (outbreak strain) were identified with onset of gastrointestinal symptoms or laboratory date between August 21 and November 16, 2006. A swab sample taken from a meat slicer used at a local fast food restaurant (Restaurant A) and a sample of roast beef from Restaurant A were positive for the S. Montevideo outbreak strain.

Report Results:

[various public health investigators]………..returned to the restaurant to collect additional environmental samples. In all, 31 samples from equipment and food preparation surfaces were collected including three samples from the new meat slicer which had been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. The food and environmental samples were delivered to GPHL on October 26 and two samples tested positive for the outbreak strain of S. Montevideo: roast beef collected from a sandwich and a swab collected from the blade cover of the new slicer.

For more than 14 months, Arby’s has possessed full knowledge of their role in a food poisoning outbreak that has caused substantial injury and financial hardship to many, yet they have refused to assume responsibility for the harm they visited on 72 of their patrons. And this despite the fact that many suffered the painful, debilitating effects of Salmonella food poisoning.

It’s time for Arby’s to do what’s right, just as Taco Johns and other companies have done in similar circumstances. There are medical bills to be paid, lost wages to be reimbursed, and pain and suffering to account for. Just because this particular outbreak is over doesn’t mean that Arby’s is off the hook, nor that something just like this couldn’t happen again. People who were sickened by Arby’s roast beef are still waiting for the company to start being responsible.

The Law Firm of Eric Weinberg, along with co-counsel Andrew Childers of Childers, Buck, and Schlueter, currently represents 25 victims of a Salmonella food poisoning outbreak in a lawsuit against an Arby’s located in Valdosta, Georgia. If you believe that you are a victim of Salmonella food poisoning, and you have a question concerning your legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274, or see Free Case Evaluation.

To learn more about the Arby’s Salmonella outbreak, please see Arby’s Food Poisoning Lawsuit and Arby's Salmonella Outbreak – A Cautionary Tale.

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Contact Weinberg Law Firm. You may also call us 24/7 at our toll free number, 1(877) 934-6274.