An Australian court has reportedly awarded $8 million to the family of a
girl who allegedly ate a Salmonella-contaminated chicken product from a
KFC restaurant and became critically ill with organ system failures, septic
shock, severe brain injury, and spastic quadriplegia. Samaan v. Kentucky Fried
Chicken Pty Ltd., No. 2006/20457 (NSW Sup. Ct., decided April 4, 2012). The
court exhaustively explores inconsistencies in the testimony and evidence
concerning the source of the chicken that allegedly caused the injury, but
concludes that the KFC “Twister” product “was the only common meal to the
affected family members (and no others) and it was consumed within the
incubation period for Salmonella poisoning.”

According to the court, many of the inconsistencies could be attributed
to language and translation issues given that the parents and one child
were born in Sudan and were native Arabic speakers. Other inconsistencies
could be attributed to concerns over the child’s illness, so severe that she
was administered last rites in the hospital, and that the mother had given
birth to a sibling a few days before the older girl was stricken. The court also
found sufficient breakdowns in the restaurant’s procedures to conclude that
the Salmonella contamination of one of its products was not impossible.
A company spokesperson has indicated that KFC will appeal the decision,
contending, “We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy.”
See Law360, April 27, 2012.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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