KFC to appeal court judgment over salmonella poisoning

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd April 2012

KFC Australia has confirmed it will appeal a judgment in the NSW Supreme Court which found it to be responsible for causing the salmonella poisoning of a young girl in Sydney in 2005.

The family of Monika Samaan had sought compensation from KFC claiming Monika had become ill after eating a chicken Twister purchased from one of its Sydney stores in October 2005.

Monika suffered organ system failures and injuries, septic shock, severe brain injury and spastic quadriplegia. These injuries mean that Monika is now physically and intellectually disabled and is unable to function independently.

Following a four week trial in the NSW Supreme Court in 2010, Justice Rothman has now found in favour of the Samaan family.

In the case notes, Justice Rothman is stated as concluding, “The lack of documentary evidence in relation to any relevant complaints adds some weight to the defence, however, the real issues lie with the evidence of KFCs employees in relation to whether there is some possibility that the Twister Mr Samaan purchased for Monika could have become contaminated through errant food handling procedures between the time Crispy Strips had been cooked and the time the finished product was handed to Mr Samaan.

“The evidence of mishandling of the chicken provides enough weight, when combined with all of the other evidence, to enable the conclusion to be drawn that it is more likely than not Monika’s Twister became contaminated while it was being handled or made up.”

KFC to appeal judge’s decision

At issue is whether Mr Samaan did in fact purchase the Twister from the KFC and if so, whether the Twister caused the Salmonella poisoning that led to the Ms Samaan’s injuries.

KFC Australia’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Sally Glover said, “This is clearly a very tragic case but we are deeply disappointed and surprised by the judge’s decision.

“We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy and, after reviewing the judgment and seeking further advice from our lawyers, we have decided to appeal Justice Rothman’s decision.

“We feel deeply for Monika and the Samaan family however we also have a responsibility to defend KFC’s reputation as a provider of safe, high quality food.

“In fifty years in Australia, KFC has earned a reputation for having the highest food safety standards and we will continue working to ensure that record is maintained,” Ms Glover said.