January 7, 2008: Arby’s Joins Other Food Purveyors in the State of Denial

Arby’s Salmonella Food Poisoning News

It seems to be a trend. Restaurants, fast food chains, food growers and manufacturers – they make consumers ill (in some cases they make them very ill, and in the worst cases they kill them), and when those same consumers come forward for what is their due, the food people come up with a bunch of shameful excuses for why they are not at fault.

Come on! It’s time for any entity that causes a food poisoning outbreak to own up to their responsibilities. And Arby’s is no different from the rest. After having sickened over 70 people in Valdosta, Georgia, you’d think Arby’s would be rushing to pay their customers’ medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering instead of offering the following lame excuses for why the outbreak wasn’t their fault.

Here’s a “good” one from Arby’s lawyers – blaming the victim:

Upon information and belief pending further investigation, the sole proximate cause of Plaintiff’s damages, if any she sustained, was Plaintiff’s own negligence with the result that Plaintiff is not entitled to recover from the Defendant in their case.

How about that “pending further investigation” line? With state public health laboratory proof of Salmonella food poisoning and a “smoking gun” in the form of contaminated roast beef and a contaminated meat slicer, what further investigation do they need?

Here’s another line the food people like to use. Basically, it goes like this: You got sick? Well, it’s your own fault!

Upon information and belief pending further investigation, Plaintiff in the exercise of ordinary care, could have avoided the consequences of any alleged negligence (which is expressly denied) on the part of the Defendant.

How exactly could a victim of food poisoning have avoided it? By not eating, or perhaps avoid eating at Arby’s?

And this is the best one of all. Here’s how it goes: Even if we did something bad, you did something worse. Come on, who are they kidding?

Upon information and belief pending further investigation, the negligence of the Plaintiff was at least equal to or greater than any alleged negligence (which is specifically denied) on the part of the Defendant.

All kidding around aside, food poisoning is no joking matter. Dozens of people became ill in Georgia after eating at Arby’s. They incurred medical bills, lost wages when they couldn’t work, and suffered from a debilitating and scary illness. They deserve compensation, not ridiculous excuses for why all of this was their fault.

And just to be perfectly clear, the existence of Salmonella was firmly established in this case. Please see the Georgia Health Department report below:

This report describes an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Montevideo infections associated with a fast food restaurant in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. The outbreak was identified through Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) surveillance. Seventy-two case-patients with indistinguishable S. Montevideo Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns (outbreak strain) were identified with onset of gastrointestinal symptoms or laboratory date between August 21 and November 16, 2006. A swab sample taken from a meat slicer used at a local fast food restaurant (Restaurant A) and a sample of roast beef from Restaurant A were positive for the S. Montevideo outbreak strain.

Arby’s: get out of the state of denial and own up to your responsibilities!

Please see Arby’s Salmonella Lawsuit Press Release for more information.