Public Safety

Eastern Iowa lawsuit linked to Fareway chicken salad

North Liberty woman said salmonella poisoning endangered a recent liver transplant

Stock photo of a Fareway store. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)
Stock photo of a Fareway store. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)

A North Liberty woman alleges the salmonella she got after eating chicken salad from Fareway endangered her transplanted liver.

Denise Whipple, 66, filed a lawsuit in Johnson County District Court Thursday against Fareway, a Boone-based grocery store chain, and Triple T Specialty Meats, the Ackley company that prepared the chicken salad for Fareway.

Iowa has had at least 115 confirmed or probable cases of salmonella poisoning linked to chicken salad sold at Fareway between Jan. 1 and Feb. 9, when Fareway pulled the product from its shelves. Fareway is a Boone-based grocery company with 118 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Neighboring states have had a handful of connected cases, officials said.

Salmonella, which can be found in undercooked chicken, causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that usually last just a few days. But the illness is linked to 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths a year, Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Whipple purchased chicken salad at the North Liberty Fareway Feb. 3, according to the lawsuit filed by Ryan Osterholm of Pritzker Hageman of Minnesota. She ate it over the next few days and got sick Feb. 8. Whipple, who had a liver transplant in December, was admitted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Feb. 14 to 20 for the food poisoning, the suit states.

“Doctors were concerned Denise Whipple’s salmonella infection would cause her body to reject her liver,” the suit states. Doctors switched the medication Whipple was using to help her body accept the transplanted organ and continued to monitor her condition, the lawsuit states.

Fareway is facing four lawsuits in Polk County from alleged victims of salmonella poisoning and two lawsuits in the U.S. District Court’s Southern Iowa district.


The federal suits, filed by William Marler, of Marler Clark of Seattle, and Steven Wandro, of Wandro & Associates of Des Moines, allege Jeff Anderson, of Moline, and Derek and Sarah Porter, of Harrisburg, South Dakota, were sickened after eating chicken salad from Fareway.


In a statement posted earlier this month on its website, Fareway urged its customers to discard any remaining chicken salad and contact their local store for a refund. The company noted the suspect salad was not produced by Fareway and that the store has “no reason to believe this involves any other products.”


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