A Texas produce company ordered to stop production because of tainted celery was sued by the family of a man who allegedly died from foodborne illness.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio by Marler Clark, alleges negligence by Sangar Fresh Cut Produce LLC led to Hermillo Castellano’s June 15 death after he ate celery produced by Sangar.
Castellano was one of three San Antonio-area residents who died last year from listeria, the family’s attorney said.
Listeria is an opportunistic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, whose symptoms include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting. It can also lead to severe forms of infection, including meningitis.
The disease affects primarily older people, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.
The lawsuit alleges the San Antonio company was negligent in following guidelines that would have prevented the contaminated celery from reaching the market, court papers reviewed by United Press International indicated.
It also alleges Sangar breached an “implied warranty” that food delivered to the market is fit to eat. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the alleged breaches.
The Texas Department of State Health Services ordered Sangar Oct. 20 to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from its plant since January 2010.
It also cited the plant for sanitation issues.
The department said it determined Sangar’s chopped celery was the source of a listeria outbreak in three counties that killed at least five people in eight months.