COUPLE WITH CYCLOSPORA SUE SAFEWAY, CITING RASPBERRIES

MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A northern California couple who claim they were infected with the cyclospora parasite after eating raspberries have filed suit in Contra Costa Superior Court against Safeway Stores, Pleasanton, Calif., and Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Watsonville, Calif.The couple claim they were infected by imported Guatemalan berries they bought at a Safeway store in their hometown of San

MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A northern California couple who claim they were infected with the cyclospora parasite after eating raspberries have filed suit in Contra Costa Superior Court against Safeway Stores, Pleasanton, Calif., and Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Watsonville, Calif.

The couple claim they were infected by imported Guatemalan berries they bought at a Safeway store in their hometown of San Ramon, Calif., on May 14.

The couple, Ron and Carmen Hydel, both tested positive for the cyclospora virus, and Mr. Hydel was hospitalized for the infection, during which he lost 30 pounds, according to their attorney, Andrew Rhine.

Rhine said about 10 people ate the berries as part of a dessert prepared by Hydel at his home, and they all became ill. The Hydels, however are the only complainants in the suit filed July 30, but Rhine said he has been contacted by other people who claim to have been infected by cyclospora after eating imported raspberries at two other Safeways in the northern California area.

Safeway did not return calls seeking comment on the suit, but in published reports said no cases other than the Hydel's had been reported as of July 31.

Phil Adrian, manager of marketing and public affairs for Driscoll, said his company does not distribute product from Guatemala in any form, and that there were no shipments of raspberries from Driscoll to Safeway during the time period alleged in the lawsuit. A source at Safeway confirmed that no Driscoll raspberries were in the store at the time.