A Mississippi woman is suing Pepperidge Farm and its whey ingredient supplier, Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) of New Ulm, Minn., alleging she was infected by salmonella after eating Goldfish crackers.
AMPI issued a recall on its whey powder late last month after some product in its warehouse tested positive for salmonella.
AMPI distributes its whey to companies like Pepperidge Farm, which uses the ingredient in its Goldfish crackers, and Mondelez International Inc., which uses whey in some Ritz cracker products.
The plaintiff, Bailey Finch, was hospitalized July 24, according to the lawsuit, a day after Pepperidge Farm issued a recall of its products that use AMPI's whey powder. AMPI announced its recall the same day as Finch's hospitalization.
AMPI said none of the tainted powder left its warehouse and the company hasn't received notice of any illnesses from consumers, its business customers or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"Every piece of powder that went to market tested negative for salmonella," said Sarah Schmidt, an AMPI spokeswoman.
Schmidt said AMPI operates a "test and hold" program, which means all product is tested for pathogens and held onsite. Once it clears all its screenings, then the product is shipped. The process is designed to prevent product recalls and breaches in food safety.
Trouble began for the company when a sublot of whey powder tested positive for salmonella at its Blair, Wis., facility. The company did not distribute any of this product, and as a precaution, AMPI recalled the larger lot of whey that this sublot belonged to, Schmidt said.
In the suit filed last week, Finch said she became extremely ill with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea the same day she consumed Goldfish crackers. Once hospitalized, she tested positive for the salmonella bacteria.
Schmidt said AMPI can't comment on pending litigation.
Salmonella causes 1.2 million illnesses in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and food is the source for most cases. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most healthy people recover without treatment, the CDC says, but it can be more severe and sometimes fatal for children, elderly or people with weak immune systems.
The FDA has not confirmed any sickness related this recall. The agency did not respond to a request for an update on the recall Monday.
Certain batches of Hungry-Man Chipotle BBQ Sauced Boneless Chicken Wyngz and Flowers Foods' Swiss Rolls — which are sold under a variety of brands, including Walmart's Great Value — were also recalled.
Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767