BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Government officials launched an investigation after receiving complaints of E. coli poisoning in several states, and some of those cases saw patients falling gravely ill.
One of those sickened was Rob Ormsby, who sought treatment at Buffalo's VA Hospital, and is now suing Rich Products.
Ormsby's parents told News 4 they believed the likely cause of their son's E.coli infection was Farm Rich frozen chicken quesadillas. Amherst attorney Jed Dietrich says he has hard evidence from the State Health Lab in Wadsworth.
"Rich Products and their contaminated food has been directly linked to my client, Robert Ormsby," Dietrich said. "His quality of life has been drastically reduced."
Rich Products voluntarily recalled more than 100 tons of its frozen products after government health officials received dozens of complaints of E. coli contamination.
Dietrich says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the company for deficiencies at protecting raw food and food products at their Waycross, Georgia plant, which makes many of the frozen snacks.
"Our allegations [are] that Rich Products did not have proper safety mechanisms in place to test the raw product that went into their final product such to protect people from E. coli contamination," Dietrich said.
Rich Products responded to the government's findings, saying their investigation turned up no evidence of E. coli contamination in the Georgia facility.
Dietrich says the lawsuit filed against Rich Products alleges general negligence and the principal of "strict liability."
"If a manufacturer of foods places a contaminated product into the stream of commerce, places it in a store and someone eats it, then the manufacturer has to be held responsible, and in this particular case, Rich Products will be held responsible," Dietrich said.
A spokesman for Rich Products said now that this case is being litigated in the courts, the company will have no further comment. The case is set for trial in state court next May.
At last count, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta listed 35 cases of this specific strain of E. coli across 19 states.
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