NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Nashville restaurant is facing four separate lawsuits after a salmonella outbreak left at least 20 customers sick. Each lawsuit is seeking up to $1.5 million in damages, totaling more than $6 million dollars.
The lawsuit alleges that Milk and Honey, a restaurant located in The Gulch, was negligent, leading to the outbreak.
The customers became sick after eating at the restaurant on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4. The lawsuit said at least 20 people reported becoming infected with salmonella, a foodborne illness that can lead to nausea and vomiting and, in some cases, can become very serious. After an investigation, the Metro Public Health Department concluded that the diners got sick after eating the restaurant's short rib gnocchi. Health Department Spokesperson Brian Todd said that dish was made using contaminated eggs.
"It was that particular source, those eggs that came from one farm in Alabama," Todd explained. Todd added that the discovery led to a USDA investigation of the farm where those eggs game from: Gravel Ridge Farms.
But the lawsuits allege there was more negligence on the part of Milk and Honey. Lawyers argue the dish was under-cooked by 10 degrees and that staff members weren't properly trained to cook the gnocchi. Citing Health Department reports, lawyers say improper management and poor training led to the outbreak of salmonella.
"The Health Department further found that the gnocchi served to Plaintiff and similarly situated persons were 'not being adequately cooked to destroy pathogens, [and] during reconstruction of events, portions of the raw gnocchi were cooked to 130°F, a cook-kill temperature well below the required 145°F,'" the lawsuit reads.
All four plaintiff's are being represented by the same lawfirm: Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon, PLLC.
Taylor Monen, the owner of Milk and Honey, told NewsChannel 5 the outbreak was an "unfortunate incident" isolated to "one day in August." She said the restaurant immediately cut ties with Gravel Ridge Farms after the outbreak. Monen declined to get into specifics, citing the pending lawsuits.
The lawsuits also name Monen, the parent company of Taco Mamacita Nashville and Gravel Ridge Farms as defendents.