Local woman sues over tainted Goldfish crackers


Isabelle Altman



A Columbus woman has sued Connecticut food corporation Pepperidge Farm after she says she was hospitalized eating contaminated Goldfish crackers.


Bailey Finch, 26, filed suit in the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi in Aberdeen on Wednesday, claiming negligence on the part of food company, based in Norwalk, Connecticut. According to court documents, Finch is asking for a jury to determine damages for medical and out-of-pocket expenses, emotional distress, attorneys' fees and punitive damages for gross negligence.


Started more than 75 years ago, Pepperidge Farm produces bread, cookies, crackers and similar products. On July 23, the company issued a recall on four varieties of its Goldfish crackers after being notified by one of its ingredient suppliers that whey powder in a season applied to those four varieties had been the subject of a recall due to "the potential presence of salmonella," according to court documents.



That recall came too late for Finch, who four days before was hospitalized with salmonella poisoning after her mother bought Goldfish from a local grocery store, the documents say.


Finch was taken to DCH Hospital in Tuscaloosa and then to UAB Hospital in Birmingham where she underwent four days of treatment for severe complications, according to a press release from Cory Watson Attorneys, a Birmingham, Alabama-based law firm representing Finch along with Jackson attorney Patrick Wooten.


"Salmonella kills," Cory Watson attorney Bobby LaMoine said in the press release. "Pepperidge Farm failed in their duty to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat, and as a result, our client almost lost her life."


Finch's lawsuit alleges Pepperidge Farm should have known the crackers were dangerous when they were released to stores and that the company should have warned consumers of the dangers they posed. The suit claims the company should have been more careful in its manufacture of the food and tested the products before releasing them to stores.


"There is no excuse that can justify the conduct of Pepperidge Farm in releasing 3.3 million packages of poison Goldfish into the market," LaMoine said in the press release. "The purpose of the suit is to not only hold the defendants accountable, but to make sure all other food manufacturers know that the public will not stand for this any longer."


The lawsuit also names Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Pepperidge Farm's ingredient manufacturer which provided the contaminated whey powder.


Pepperidge Farm did not answer calls from The Dispatch by press time. However, a menu on the company's voicemail options confirms four varieties of crackers were recalled due to salmonella and lists the products. It also says "no confirmed illnesses have been reported."





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