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Minnesota family claims pot pies made young girl ill

By Josh Funk

Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — A Minnesota couple sued ConAgra Foods Inc. on Thursday for selling the pot pies they believe made their young daughter ill with salmonella.

The federal lawsuit Amy and Joshua Reinert of Sauk Rapids, Minn., filed in St. Paul is the first one related to this week’s announcement that ConAgra’s Banquet and generic pot pies had been linked to a salmonella outbreak.

The company recalled all its pot pies Thursday and warned customers not to eat any of its pot pies and to throw them away. ConAgra is offering refunds.

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Amy Reinert said her daughter, Isabelle, had diarrhea for nearly six weeks after she initially became ill in August at the age of 19 months.

An ambulance took the youngest of the Reinerts’ three children to the emergency room on Aug. 18 after she had a seizure and lost consciousness.

"That was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced as a parent," Amy Reinert said. "It was horrible."

A few days later, doctors told the Reinerts that Isabelle had salmonella, but it wasn’t until this week that the family learned what caused the illness.

Isabelle’s salmonella matched the strain of the illness that health officials have linked to more than 170 cases of salmonella in nearly three dozen states. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 30 people have been hospitalized as part of the ongoing outbreak, but so far no deaths have been linked to the pot pies.

ConAgra officials have said some of the illnesses might be linked to undercooked pot pies, but a ConAgra spokeswoman said the pot pies should not be eaten even if consumers think they have cooked them correctly. The company is revising the cooking directions on its pot pie packages to clarify how long the pies should be cooked in different microwaves.

The lawsuit asks the court to order ConAgra to pay all of Isabelle Reinert’s past and future medical bills related to her salmonella illness and pay the family more than $75,000 in damages.

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