outbreak over; Enon couple sues Youngs
The Clark County Combined Health District said last week that the food
poisoning outbreak at Youngs Jersey Dairy has been contained.
In addition, Youngs will stop producing unpasteurized milk.
But the repercussions of Decembers salmonella outbreak at the local
business run deeper than first expected.
Last Wednesday, Jan. 15, a couple from Enon filed a lawsuit in the Clark
County Common Pleas Court on behalf of their 16-month-old daughter, Racheal
Tingley, against the dairy. Tom and Dana Tingley claim that Racheal became
ill after consuming milk or a milk product from Youngs last month,
said their attorney, Chris Clark of Troy. The Tingleys are seeking a punitive
award of no less than $50,000.
The suit states that on or about Dec. 3, Racheal consumed food from Youngs
that was defective, unsafe, unwholesome, and unfit for human consumption
in that it was contaminated with harmful microbes, including but not limited
to a bacterium known as salmonella. As a result, Racheal
became physically sick requiring medical attention and further suffered
severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, and incurred medical bills
and other consequential monetary damages, the suit claims.
In addition, the suit says that as a result of their daughters illness,
Tom and Dana Tingley have been deprived of the society, companionship,
attention, and comfort of their minor daughter, Racheal Tingley.
Youngs has 28 days from the time it received the lawsuit to file
a response. In a recent phone interview, Youngs CEO Dan Young said
he had nothing to add about the suit.
A day after the lawsuit was filed, Youngs announced that it would
discontinue the sale of unpasteurized milk.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week recommended the business
surrender its Raw Milk Retailer License after multiple samples of cream
and butter made from whole milk bottled on Nov. 29 tested positive for
salmonella, department spokeswoman Melanie Wilt said. Skim milk bottled
on the same day had previously tested positive for salmonella.
Investigators have found in two other Ohio counties a strain of salmonella
genetically identical to the one found at Youngs. Health officials
are uncertain how the bacteria got to Youngs. The 55 people that
have been confirmed for salmonella poisoning were found to have eaten
at Youngs sometime between Nov. 29 and Dec. 19.
Clark said that Youngs made a good decision to stop selling raw
milk and that it was in line with other retailers in Ohio.
Youngs Dairy began its operations by selling raw milk in the early
1900s, Young said. The business has continued as a raw milk retailer for
almost 50 years and, until recently, was the only one remaining in Ohio.
A grandfather clause in state law permitted retailers selling raw milk
before October 1965 to continue selling it.
The ODA said that in order to continue selling raw milk today, Youngs
would have to bring its milk processing and bottling procedure up to a
certain standard. Youngs bottled its milk by hand at a very low
volume and did not view upgrading the procedure as economically feasible,
Young said. The business will begin selling pasteurized milk it purchases
Its a sad thing, but you just got to face reality as it is,
Young said. One incident in 50 years sounds safe to me, but in todays
society that might not be safe enough.
Raw, or unpasteurized, milk is widely known as a possible carrier of bacteria
because it is not heat treated like pasteurized milk.
The bottled milk at Youngs was labeled with a warning sticker and
its menus read raw milk. But the milkshakes, made with raw
milk, were not clearly labeled, according to Clark County Health Commissioner
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, the food poisoning at Youngs
has been contained.
As far as were concerned, the outbreak itself is over, and
Youngs is back to normal operations, Patterson said.