The lawsuit was filed in Missouri and alleged that ConAgra "betrayed the trust of consumers" when it sold products contaminated with salmonella. The plaintiffs claim that 165 people were sickened by the contaminated pot pies. However, some reports claim that up to 174 people have actually been sickened.
The family of a 19-month-old girl who became ill after allegedly eating a salmonella-contaminated pot pie has also filed a lawsuit against ConAgra Foods. The young girl wound up in hospital for treatment with a fever of 104-degrees after having a seizure and losing consciousness. She reportedly developed diarrhea that lasted for six weeks after she initially became ill.
Meanwhile, some critics have said that ConAgra mishandled a recall of the pot pies, putting many people at risk for salmonella poisoning. The company issued a health alert on Tuesday, Oct. 8 but only asked stores to stop selling the pies. A recall was not announced until two days later. That recall was then expanded a day later to cover all varieties of pot pie produced by ConAgra foods including chicken, turkey and beef.
Critics argue that that ConAgra should have recalled the pot pies sooner and note that not all stores removed the pot pies immediately upon learning of the recall. Even though the media covered the health advisory, not everyone would have known about it, meaning that some pot pies could have been purchased and/or consumed after the advisory was issued.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSWhy ConAgra did not immediately announce a recall is a question that so far has no satisfactory answer. On the company's webpage, an FAQ response notes, "Since the first announcement on Oct. 9, ConAgra Foods has advised consumers to not eat these products in order to help ensure consumer safety, and the recall of Oct. 11 helped us provide additional clarity around the fact that consumers should not eat these products." If the company is so concerned about consumer safety an earlier recall would have helped to ensure that fewer people were able to either purchase or consume possibly contaminated pot pies. If the company was willing to tell people not to eat the pot pies, why not simply announce a recall right away? Many consumers are upset that they had no idea a health advisory had been announced and were allowed to continue purchasing contaminated ConAgra pot pies.
Initially, the company blamed customers who did not cook the pot pies properly for developing salmonella poisoning. Many customers who reported falling ill after eating the pot pies say they cooked their food for the time recommended on the packaging, with some saying they cooked the pot pies for longer than recommended.
So far, people in at least 32 states have been affected by salmonella poisoning allegedly contracted after eating Banquet pot pies. However, it is likely that the number of victims is much higher because many incidents of salmonella poisoning go unreported with the victim recovering at home without medical treatment.