Bill Marler

Food Safety Advocate & Food Poisoning Attorney

Arielle Allen and Katy Napierski – The 2014 Villa Romano Green Farms Botulism Outbreak

In July 2014, the California Department of Public Health investigated an outbreak of Botulism linked to VR Greens in San Clemente, California. The City of Cincinnati Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health traced two cases of Botulism to a jar of pesto sauce produced and canned by VR Greens.  

The two cases identified were Katy Napierski and Arielle Allen, two students in Cincinnati, Ohio. Katy had cooked a pasta meal for the two of them with a jar of pesto sauce that her father bought at a farm stand operated at the Bella Collina Towne and Golf Club in San Clemente California.  

Botulism is a rare disease whose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, double vision, dropping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dryness of skin, mouth, and throat, lack of fever, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Two days after eating the meal, both Arielle and Katy began experiencing sore throat and difficulty swallowing severe enough to seek medical help. 

At the hospital, Katy was given breathing and feeding tubes to combat of her inability to swallow. Katy continued to fail breathing tests and reached the maximum number of days allowed to be intubated. She received a tracheostomy where a breathing tube was inserted directly into her throat. After finally being released from the hospital on August 23rd, Katy required speech and physical therapy to return to normal life. She continued to have trouble swallowing and weakness in her right hand and left leg for some time after her release.  

Arielle Allen had a less severe case of botulism, although she required a ventilator for three days, she passed a breathing test and was able to be taken off. Arielle was released from the hospital on August 2nd.  

Marler Clark represented Arielle and Katy in claims against VR Greens. You can read more about Botulism lawsuits and litigation that stemmed from the VR greens Botulism outbreak on the Marler Clark Website. 

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