Jack in the Box to assist victims of food poisoning

February 02, 1993|By Seattle Times

SEATTLE -- Making good on a promise to do what was "morally right," Jack in the Box says it will pay the hospitalization costs of customers stricken by the E. coli bacteria after eating hamburgers at one of the chain's fast-food restaurants.

President Robert Nugent said his company would help its customers "immediately, with no strings attached."

More than 300 Washington state residents have become ill from the E. coli outbreak. Almost all of the cases have been linked to hamburgers sold at Jack in the Box restaurants.

Two children have died. Michael James Nole, 2, of Tacoma, Wash., died of kidney and heart failure Jan. 22 after eating a tainted cheeseburger Jan. 11. Celina Shribbs, 2 1/2 , of Lynnwood, Wash., died Thursday, but the source of her E. coli infection has not been determined. She did not eat at a Jack in the Box.

Mr. Nugent and Sheree Zizzi, a spokeswoman for Jack in the Box, said people who thought they had become infected after eating at a Jack in the Box should call a special hot line during business hours Monday through Friday.

The number is 1-800-866-9119.

Ms. Zizzi did not say how the company would determine legitimate claims.

Susan Macek, director of communications for Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, said about 40 children had been hospitalized there as a result of contaminated food from a Jack in the Box.

Two suits have been filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma against Foodmaker Inc., the parent company of Jack in the Box.

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