Published On: Wed, Sep 26th, 2012

Seattle woman, Merrill Behnke, files lawsuit against Forever Cheese because of Listeria infection- Marler Clark representing

A Bellevue, Washington woman has filed a lawsuit against cheese importer, Forever Cheese and local distributer, Peterson Cheese of King County, Washington because of a Listeria monocytogenes infection she contracted in August after eating a salad containing Marte brand  ricotta salata cheese.


30-year-old  Merrill West Behnke alleges she suffered from a very serious Listeria meningitis after consuming the salad.

According to Behnke’s attorney, foodborne illness lawyer, Bill Marler of Marler Clark, Ms. Behnke consumed ricotta salata cheese on August 25, 2012 and first started experiencing symptoms of an illness three days later. Her symptoms worsened the next day and she was taken for medical treatment at an Urgent Care Center by her husband. 

She went through a battery of tests, including a spinal tap and CT scan and was diagnosed with Listeria meningitis.

Ms. Behnke was hospitalized for about two weeks, including time spent in intensive care. She was discharged from the hospital on September 13, and has continued to receive antibiotics 6 times daily since her discharge from the hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  as of Sept. 20, a total of 15 persons infected, including 3 deaths,  with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia.

An investigation by federal, state and local health authorities  indicate that imported ricotta salata cheese is the likely source of this outbreak.

Recalls of the tainted cheese began on Sept. 10 when Forever Cheese, Inc. voluntarily recalled one lot of Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Eleven days later, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the recall to include all lots and production codes of Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese, and all cheese by the Italian cheese maker.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, alleging physical and mental distress.
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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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