Monika and her brother Abanoub before she fell ill
An 11-year-old Australian girl is suing Kentucky Fried Chicken for Aus$10 million (£5 million), claiming that she suffered brain damage and was left crippled after eating a contaminated product in a Sydney outlet.
Monika Sumaan was seven years old when she developed salmonella encephalopathy and salmonella septicaemia brain damage, allegedly after eating a chicken twister — a meal consisting of fried chicken in pita bread.
She is now confined to a wheelchair with spastic quadriplegia. The court heard that her condition was a result of eating the meal at a KFC restaurant in Villaood, a suburb in southwest Sydney.
A day after eating the product, Monica began vomiting and had diarrhoea. Her parents and brother were also sick after sharing her twister, the court heard.
The family's lawyer, Anthony Bartley, SC, told the court that Monika Sumann had been an extremely bright and active young girl before her illness.
She was a victim of "disturbing" and "unsettling" practices at the fast-food giant, he said.
"Your honour will hear that, if the store was particularly busy, then if chicken dropped on the floor near the burger station it would on some occasions simply be put back into the burger station from where it had fallen," Mr Bartley said.
"The evidence, comes from employees of KFC at the relevant time both in the shop at Villawood and other stores," he said.
Mr Bartley said in the same month that Monika became ill, another 10 people who ate at Villawood KFC reported having food poisoning.
"There is no doubt in this case that what poisoned Monika and left her in the physical condition that she now is [in] is salmonella," Mr Bartley said.
"And there is little or no doubt that chicken was reported by all scientists, at the time of these unhappy events occurring, as being the source of that salmonella," he said.
The court heard that in the months before the incident the restaurant had scored badly in internal audits on food preparation and handling.
As recently as last week a company review had discovered that cross-contamination of foods was present in the store, which had scored an overall performance mark of 41 per cent — regarded as a breakdown standard — the barrister said.
The hearing continues.
Kentucky Fried Chicken meal 'caused brain damage' - Times Online