Bill Marler

Food Safety Advocate & Food Poisoning Attorney

Harold Elli - The 2002 Susie Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

In May of 2002, an outbreak of Salmonella Poona among dozens of people across the country was traced back to Susie Brand Canteloupe, distributed by the I. Kunick Company of Texas. The company had imported cantaloupes from Mexico and distributed them to retail stores and restaurants around the nation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently detained all cantaloupes being imported from Mexico by Kunick.

Investigators eventually confirmed 58 cases as part of the outbreak, 10 of which resulted in hospitalization. Victims came from 10 different states and 4 Canadian provinces.

Harold Elli, an 85-year-old man, was one of those hospitalized as a result of his Salmonella infection, contracted from eating a Susie Brand Cantaloupe purchased at his local Safeway in The Dalles, Oregon. Mr. Elli developed life-threatening complications from his infection, including kidney damage, the beginning stages of pneumonia, and severe dehydration. He was hospitalized for 18 days, during which he was unable to eat, was in excruciating pain, and remained largely unresponsive. Mr. Elli’s illness left him unable to do many of the activities he had enjoyed before eating the contaminated cantaloupe, such as fixing cars, due to his loss of strength and energy.

Marler Clark represented Mr. Elli and successfully resolved his claim in 2003 for an undisclosed amount.  

To read more about the Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe and lawsuits brought on behalf of victims of the outbreak, visit the Marler Clark Website.

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