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Florida Nurse Missed Work From Foodborne Illness

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Asheville, NCA case of foodborne illness has resulted in a food poisoning lawsuit brought by a nurse who knows a thing or two about what happens when the human body suddenly ingests bad food. In this case, plaintiff Mary Ann Hurtado of Jacksonville, Florida experienced uncontrollable shaking, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and missed months of work after eating the tainted food in March of this year.

Hurtado contacted a food poisoning lawyer and filed her lawsuit June 18th in US District Court for the Western District of Asheville, North Carolina.

The Asheville Citizen-Times (6/20/12) noted that Hurtado ingested what is believed to be tainted tempeh, a popular bean product made with culture. Her lawsuit names Smiling Hara LLC, of Mars Hill—the manufacturer of the tempeh—and Tempeh Online of Rockville, Maryland, which reportedly supplied the culture to make the bean product.

According to her food poisoning lawsuit, Hurtado was on vacation with her husband in Asheville, in mid-March. Two days after St. Patrick's Day, the plaintiff consumed a vegetarian sandwich with tempeh at a restaurant in Asheville. Within 48 hours she began to experience abdominal cramps, according to the report—symptoms which escalated a day later along with "chills and uncontrollable shaking, a severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps, which had become much worse," according to the text of the lawsuit.

Returning to their home in Florida on March 24th, Hurtado immediately reported to the emergency room at the local hospital and received treatment for dehydration and a bacterial infection. She was admitted and remained in hospital for three days, with two additional days for convelesance at home before returning to work.

The story doesn't end there. According to the Citizen-Times, Hurtado tested positive for salmonella and was told to stop working with patients, an event that directly affected her income. The plaintiff has continued to experience gastrointestinal issues long after her brush with foodborne illness, the lawsuit states.

Hurtado's story may be one of many foodborne illness cases, given a salmonella outbreak this past spring in Buncombe County. Government regulators have since traced the outbreak to Smiling Hara, one of the defendants in Hurtado's lawsuit. Smiling Hara had supplied tempeh to several dozen local stores and restaurants. As a result of the foodborne illness cases, Smiling Hara is said to have issued a voluntary recall.

The strain of salmonella has been identified as paratyphi B salmonella, which is rare. Hurtado is seeking at least $75,000 in compensation from the defendants in her food poisoning lawsuit.

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