Lawsuit Alleges Unclean Conditions at Meat Plant - Republic - February 4, 1999

February 4, 1999

Zeeland, Mich. - Allegations about unclean conditions at a western Michigan meat processor were raised in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after the death of a woman who ate tainted hot dogs.

Tainted meat from the Bil Mar plant has been linked to 11 deaths, five miscarriages and still births and about 72 illnesses in 14 states, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bil Mar, a division of Chicago-based Sara Lee Corp., on Dec. 22 recalled 15 million pounds of hot dogs and other packaged meat products sold under a variety of names. It said they could be tainted with listeria bacteria.

Listeria are common bacteria but can pose a serious risk to people with weakened immune systems, as well as to the elderly, diabetics and pregnant women.

On Tuesday, Chicago lawyer Kenneth Moll filed the suit his second saying he interviewed former Bil Mar employees who talked about unsanitary conditions at the plant and faulty cooking processes.

Sara Lee spokeswoman Theresa Herlevsen declined to comment on the allegations about unclean conditions.

The lawsuit filed in Chicago accuses the company of negligence in the death of Helen Bodnar, a 74-year-old woman from Memphis who died Oct. 19.

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