After 13 employees at the Quality Pork Processing Plant (QPPP) in Rochester, Minn. contracted a neurological disease from exposure to vaporized pig brains, one of them is taking legal action.
Susan Kruse and other employees had used pressurized air hoses to pulverize the brains for food processing at the Minnesota slaughterhouse. Because of the alleged contaminated exposure, Kruse has been out of work for months and her employer has denied her workers' compensation.
"In this particular case, given the expenses that these people are running up with their medical treatment alone, without the work comp coverage they can't afford it," her attorney, Ray Peterson said.
QPPP president Kelly Waeding said her company is processing workers' compensation for other workers.
"Several of them have had the enough information gathered and they've taken depositions to make a determination that it will be covered under worker's compensation," she said. "Susan Kruse is in that process right now. They haven't finished gathering information on this particular case."
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) still is investigating. KAAL-TV, the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis said MDH officials confirmed workers breathing in mist from processed pig brains became sick. MDH termed the illness "progressive inflammatory neuropathy." Kruse told the station she still suffers pain and fatigue a year after the exposure. KAAL reported since the lawsuit, QPPP has stopped harvesting pig brains.
Kruse walks with a limp, two years after she began experiencing symptoms from the slaughterhouse exposure. "It started in my left leg then it went to my right leg. I had tingling in my finger tips and my body wanted to go but my body wouldn't let me," Kruse explained
Similar symptoms were reported by employees at slaughterhouses in Indiana and Nebraska. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still is trying to determine the exact cause of Kruse's illness.