Malt-O-Meal Salmonella Outbreak Class Action LawsuitIn 1998, a Salmonella Agona outbreak among residents of several states was investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments. A case-control study revealed that the majority of Salmonella cases had consumed Millville brand plain Toasted Oats cereal before becoming ill.
Testing conducted on Toasted Oats cereal resulted in one positive Salmonella culture from an open box of the cereal and two positive cultures from unopened boxes. The pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern, or “genetic fingerprint” of the Salmonella Agona isolated from the cereal was indistinguishable from that isolated from human samples. Malt-O-Meal, the manufacturer of the cereal, issued a recall of all plain Toasted Oats cereal.
Ultimately, 209 illnesses were reported to public health officials; 47 were hospitalizations. Salmonella Agona cases associated with consumption of Malt-O-Meal Toasted Oats cereal were reported in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Washington.
The Marler Clark law firm filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all people who became ill with Salmonella infections after eating the contaminated cereal. Claims against Malt-O-Meal were resolved in 2000.