Torchy’s Tacos sued by family who claims child contracted salmonella at San Antonio location

A lawsuit claims a North San Antonio Torchy’s Tacos was the source of a minor's salmonella infection. - Instagram / scorry
Instagram / scorry
A lawsuit claims a North San Antonio Torchy’s Tacos was the source of a minor's salmonella infection.
A family has sued Austin-based Torchy's Tacos, maintaining that a minor was hospitalized and placed in intensive care with salmonella after eating at one of the chain's San Antonio restaurants.

The suit, filed in Bexar County District Court, maintains that the child's illness is related to a salmonella outbreak affecting 37 states and linked to imported onions. As of Thursday morning, Texas reported 158 cases of salmonella from the outbreak — more than any other state — according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The suit filed by Ching-yi Ortiz on behalf of an underaged minor listed as “A.O.” in court filings includes Torchy's, its parent company Success Foods Management Group LLC and ProSource Produce LLC, a food distributor.

In a statement to the Current, Torchy’s officials said providing safe food is a top priority. While the company said the suit is the first notice it's received of the incident, it's hired nationally respected food safety experts to track its food supply to see if a connection can be found between items served at that time and the claim. 

The plaintiff in the suit is represented by Seattle's Marler Clark LLC and the Hill Law Firm of San Antonio.

According to the suit's allegations, the minor plaintiff ate dinner at the Torchy's Tacos at 18210 Sonterra Place and a week later began to experience exhaustion and a headache. His symptoms grew worse over the next 10 days and he was taken to the emergency room but got no diagnosis, the filing alleges.

Four days later, the plaintiff was in such intense pain that he couldn't walk or sit up, according to the petition. He was taken to the Methodist Children's Hospital where he received a diagnosis of Salmonella Oranienburg infection and began treatment in the ICU, the lawsuit states.

The minor plaintiff remains in pediatric care, where he's being treated for sepsis, organ failure, pneumonia, acidosis, thrombocytopenia, a pericardial effusion and interstitial emphysema, according to the petition.

The suit seeks compensation to cover the family's medical bills and to compensate the minor for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, future lost wages and more.

"A.O. is one of the 652 people with Salmonella Oranienburg linked to the consumption of onions," food safety attorney Bill Marler of Marler Clark said in a written statement. "In 28 years representing victims of foodborne illness, A.O. is one of the sickest Salmonella cases I have seen for someone that survived.”

In its statement, Torchy's said the Sonterra location has a uniform record of excellent health inspection scores, including an Oct. 8 inspection from the City of San Antonio in which the kitchen received a score of 100.

"Our thoughts are with this guest and his family, and we hope for continued recovery," Torchy's statement concluded.

On Thursday, the CDC linked the outbreak to fresh whole red, white and yellow onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. The onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States, last imported on August 31.

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