Fatal Botulism Blamed on Leaky Valve

     (CN) – A man died because a manufacturer of food processing equipment failed to warn Bumble Bee Foods that its equipment might allow botulism toxin to survive, and failed to maintain the equipment, so that it happened, the man’s survivors claim in Augusta, Ga., Federal Court.




     In a previous case, Bumble Bee claimed Malo Inc. and Mossman Enterprises failed to fix a leaking water value that prevented the cans from reaching the temperature and pressure needed for sterilization.
     Christopher Caffrey, 54, allegedly died because of Malo’s and Massmann Enterprises’ defective “crateless retort” system.
     The defective system allowed the deadly bacteria to survive the process of canning chili, beef stew and hot dog chili sauce produced at Bumble Bee’s Castleberry plant in Augusta, according to the complaint from Caffrey’s family.
     Malo and Massmann made the equipment and also maintained it, the complaint states. They allegedly knew or should have known that the canning process did not reach high enough temperatures to kill all bacteria.
     One of those cans allegedly reached Caffrey in New Mexico. He died in September 2007 after enduring 6 weeks of painful, botulism-related paralysis.
     His sister and mother demand $13.5 million for negligence, wrongful death, product liability, pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
     In a separate federal complaint, Bumble Bee Foods claimed that defects in the design of Massmann’s and Malo’s crateless retort system resulted in the production of contaminated products.
     Bumble Bee said the defendants did not exercise ordinary care in maintaining the system, failing to do anything about a leaking water value that prevented the cans from reaching the critical higher-than-boiling temperatures and pressure necessary for sterilization.
     Caffrey’s family cited that complaint in their claim. They are represented by Willis Blacknall III.

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