Five customers who ate gas station nachos at a convenience store in Walnut Grove, California, Valley Oak Food and Fuel, were poisoned by botulism, and one of them, Lavinia Kelly, has been hospitalized for three weeks in intensive care.
Health officials are investigating three other probable cases and one suspected case, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lavinia Kelly, who turned 33 on May 17, is in the hospital, partially paralyzed and hooked up to a ventilator after contracting botulism - a rare case of food poisoning that is transmitted through food.
Kelly's family already filed a lawsuit for breach of implied warranty, severe negligence, and product liability.
Lavinia Kelly has now spent her third week in intensive care and the family is taking legal action against the gas station. Kelly's partner, Ricky Torres, tells the Daily Mail that Kelly was driving home from work on April 21 when she stopped at the station and chose to pour the cheese sauce over a bag of Doritos. The next morning she complained of double vision and went to Sutter Medical Center, but was sent home hours later.
The health department notes that county officials stopped the selling operation at Valley Oak Food and Fuel on May 5.
Kelly's older sister Theresa Kelly said she was shaken to see her sister in this state. "We just don't understand why this happened over a bag of chips and nacho cheese", partner Ricky Torres tells the Bee. Per Fox 40 they've retained a Seattle law firm that specializes in food safety issues.
It usually occurs in foods that aren't refrigerated properly. 'We will use the lawsuit to learn more about the source of the food product that was contaminated.
However, for Lavinia, botulism was the result of the thick, gooey nacho cheese she consumed from the deli section of the Valley Oak Food and Fuel. "That's an essential question".
Attorneys haven't estimated how much in damages the family will seek, but noted that past botulism cases have been resolved for millions of dollars. According to the Centers for Disease Control, botulism is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria. Employees of the gas station refused to comment on the food poisoning problems. They've also set up a GoFundMe page for help with the medical bills.