Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

July 26, 2000 | Volume 1, Issue 4

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New Jersey Smokers Mistakenly Sue Tabasco Company

Makers of flavorful hot sauce accused of selling dangerous, addictive product

TRENTON, NJ—The McIlhenny Co., makers of the popular hot sauce Tabasco, has been mistakenly named in a class-action suit brought by 50,000 New Jersey smokers, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Tabasco -

"We did WHAT?!!?," said Fort Lee smoker Henry Radcliff, echoing statements made by approximately 49,999 other Jersey residents scattered throughout the state, many of whom have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other smoking-related health conditions.

Lawyer Alan B. Jacobson expressed chagrin regarding the blunder, initially blaming the incident on "that imbecile of a secretary I got." However, it was quickly brought to Jacobson's attention that he had also lobbied erroneously in 1993 for stronger warnings on Tabasco labels, such as "Quitting Tabasco now greatly reduces your health risks," and had spearheaded a committee in the mid-1980's inadvertantly calling for decreased Tabasco advertising to children.

"Look, I coulda sworn they said they wanted to sue the Tabasco industry," admitted Jacobson outside his Princeton law office Friday.

Executives at Louisiana-based McIlhenny Co. are confident of victory in the lawsuit, citing recent U.S. Department Of Health figures showing that the incidence of Tabasco-related chronic lung illness has historically been extremely low, and appears to be declining each year.

"Our hot sauce may be addictive, but that's entirely because of the delightfully tangy mix of fully-aged red pepper, high grain all-natural vinegar, and a small amount of salt richly blended into an irresistably zesty condiment that really packs a punch!," said Tabasco spokesperson Francois Broussard.

"And if tangy zestiness be agains' the law, then you kin' send me off to county jail, Yee-hah!"

Jury selection for the trial, tentatively set for October 2000, begins next Monday.

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