Minnesota woman sues after contracting salmonella from tainted cucumbers


A Minnesota woman is suing a California produce company after she contracted salmonella by eating tainted cucumbers.

Kathleen Dvergsten of Farmington filed the suit in federal court against Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of California, saying she became sick after eating a salad containing the cucumbers at the Red Lobster restaurant in Maplewood, according to WCCO. The suit says Dvergsten became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized for a week.

She is one of 12 Minnesotans to get sick last month in the salmonella outbreak that has affected 27 states. Ten of the affected Minesotans are believed to have eaten the contaminated cucumbers at one of five Red Lobster restaurants. Six of them, including Dvergsten, were hospitalized.

Andrew & Williamson has recalled the “slicer” or “American” cucumber varieties that are believed to have been tainted, and Red Lobster has temporarily stopped serving cucumbers nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes there have been two reported cases in Wisconsin and one in North Dakota. Overall, 285 people around the country have been confirmed with salmonella, and half of those affected are under 18.

This strain of the disease, salmonella poona, is fairly unusual, according to MPR News. It's been found in some produce grown in Mexico over the past few years, Dvergsten's attorney Bill Marler told MPR News. The cucumber varieties in question were imported from Baja California, Mexico.

Andrew & Williamson said the cucumbers being recalled are typically sold at grocery stores in a bulk display without any individual or plastic wrapping. They're dark green and typically between seven and 10 inches long

If you think you might have purchased cucumbers that are part of the recall, you're asked to throw them away or contact the store where you bought them to request a refund.

The CDC says salmonella poona symptoms present themselves within 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Children under 5, adults over 65 and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of complications.

The outbreak is under investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

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