Foster Farms brand chicken sold at two Costco stores in San Mateo County led to salmonella poisoning and hospitalization, according to two separate lawsuits filed against the two companies in recent weeks.
The latest suit, filed Thursday by Sally A. Claverie in San Mateo County Superior Court, argues Foster Farms placed the “defense of its reputation ahead of concern for consumer safety.”
The salmonella outbreak announced in early October and traced to Foster Farms chicken has grown to more than 360 cases in 21 states, including California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among them reportedly is Claverie who seeks damages for, among other things, medical care and negligence for the two rotisserie cooked chickens she purchased Sept. 11 at the El Camino Real Costco in South San Francisco. The chicken was tainted with a dangerous strain of salmonella known as Salmonella Heidelberg that is antibiotic resistant, the suit states.
Within a couple hours of eating the chicken in a sandwich, Claverie developed “severe stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, coldness and shivering” and required medical care, the suit states.
Claverie became physically weak, causing her to fall and fracture her neck which required surgery, the suit states.
Foster Farms knew or should have known as early as March that its poultry was contaminated because it knew of other consumers hospitalized with salmonella illness and, over the next six months, hundreds of customers in as many as 20 states were sickened, the suit states.
Yet, according to Claverie’s suit, “Foster Farms was grossly negligent in that it took no action.” The suit also specifically takes aim at company President Ron Foster who was quoted that the company “couldn’t find anything that was broken” with the production process and that pulling the product from the market would be “lying to the consumer” that someone else is better.
The company’s conduct was “malicious,” the suit stated.
The week prior to Claverie filing suit, Winston Mendoza similarly sued Foster Farms and Costco on behalf of himself, six others and his three young children after purchasing cooked chicken at the store on Sept. 14. Each became “violently sick” and in most cases required hospitalization, according to the complaint.
Foster Farms has not voluntarily recalled any of its poultry products although the South San Francisco Costco did recall thousands of pounds of chicken.
Toby Baird, a Foster Farms spokesman, said that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102