KFC ordered to pay $8.3 million to Australian girl

Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken was Friday ordered to pay Aus$8 million (US$8.3 million) to an Australian girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralysed after eating a chicken wrap.

Monika Samaan was seven when she suffered salmonella encephalopathy -- a brain injury linked to food poisoning that also left her with a blood infection and septic shock -- in October 2005.

Other family members also fell ill and they claimed Samaan's injuries, which include severe cognitive, motor and speech impairment and spastic quadriplegia, were caused by a "Twister" wrap containing chicken and salad from a Sydney KFC outlet.

The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled in the family's favour a week ago and on Friday ordered KFC to pay the girl Aus$8 million in damages plus legal costs.

In a statement, the family's lawyer George Vlahakis said they were relieved the battle was over.

"Monika's severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family," he said.

"Monika is now a big girl and they are finding it increasingly difficult to lift her and to look after her basic needs as well as look after Monika's younger siblings.

"The compensation ordered is very much needed. KFC have to date been determined that Monika does not receive a cent."

Last week KFC said it believed the evidence showed KFC did not cause the tragedy and indicated it will appeal the decision but is yet to do so.

"We feel deeply for Monika and the Samaan family however we also have a responsibility to defend KFC's reputation as a provider of safe, high quality food," KFC Australia's chief corporate affairs officer Sally Glover said.

During the trial, Justice Stephen Rothman said the chicken became contaminated "because of the failure of one or more employees of KFC" to follow proper preparation rules, which he described as "negligent".

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