Residents of a Brooklyn homeless shelter announced on Thursday that they are suing the city for $8 million after they reportedly caught food poisoning from intentionally mislabeled and expired chicken salad.
“Intentionally falsifying a food expiration label by covering it over with a label with a false expiration date recklessly endangers the health of members of the public,” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein in a press conference. “In that regard, this is a criminal act. I am calling on the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to open criminal investigations and prosecute those responsible. To recklessly endanger these victims and cause them to get sick is unacceptable.”
On October 24, 64-year-old Kenneth Gilmore, 32-year-old Pierre Landro, 31-year-old Rose Rodriguez, and 43-year-old Mauricio Caballero reported profusely vomiting and experiencing intense stomach cramps after eating lunch to staff at the shelter.
The shelter residents discovered that the actual expiration date was September 20, more than a month before they ate the salad, after Landro peeled off the false label.
A Department of Homeless Services spokesperson told reporters all food received from the vendor, Sally Sherman Foods, was being reviewed. The spokesperson added that the DHS believes this was an isolated incident, and that no other shelters have been affected.
The city has also halted all products from Sally Sherman Foods.
“We never would think the shelter would serve us food outdated by a month…We can’t protect ourselves.” said Gilmore, who also claims to be a diabetic, “We’re at the mercy of the shelter.”
Photo of Sanford Rubenstein and shelter residents by Danielle Kogan