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Contaminated Peanut Butter Suit Includes Kellogg Co.

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Since August 2008, about 550 people have gotten sick and eight people have died from the salmonella outbreak. Thousands of peanut butter products have been recalled. The law firm that filed the first lawsuit over the recent salmonella outbreak in certain brands of peanut butter products has added the Kellogg Co. as a defendant.

The suit was filed last month on behalf of a Vermont couple, Gabrielle and Daryl Meunier, whose 7-year-old son became sick after eating peanut butter cracker sandwiches made by Kellogg from products of the Peanut Corp. of America, whose Georgia plant has been identified as the source of the contamination that led to the outbreak. Meunier v. Peanut Corp. of America, No. 1:09-cv-00012 (M.D. Ga.).

Marler Clark, the plaintiffs’ firm, added punitive damages to the case in recent weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Peanut Corp. of America knowingly released a product that could have been contaminated.

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Bill Marler, a partner at Seattle’s Marler Clark, said that Kellogg was added as a defendant because the company manufactured the peanut butter cracker sandwiches and conducted at least two of its own inspections, through a third party, of the Peanut Corp. of America’s Georgia plant in 2008. Kellogg spokesperson Kris Charles said the company does not comment on litigation. Peanut Corp. of America has denied wrongdoing.