updated 9/26/2006 8:13:48 PM ET 2006-09-27T00:13:48

Five family members who said they were sickened after eating fresh spinach filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a processing company investigators are examining in their search for the source of the tainted greens.

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The lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeks at least $100,000 in damages from Natural Selection Foods LLC.

Roger Drummond and Laura Snider, of Bowling Green, said they and their three children became ill in late August and early September after eating packages of organic spinach salad.

The family suffered from diarrhea, cramping and headaches, the lawsuit said. The youngest, 1-year-old Amrita Drummond, was hospitalized and tests showed that she was suffering from a highly virulent strain of E. coli, according to the lawsuit.

She suffered permanent kidney damage and will require lifelong care, said attorney David Zoll.

A message seeking comment was left with the company Tuesday, but was not immediately returned.

Health officials tracking the source of the E. coli outbreak from spinach has sickened at least 175 people nationwide are focusing on Natural Selection Foods LLC, which officials believe packaged the tainted spinach for Dole and dozens of other brands. They’re also looking specifically at nine farms in three California counties that supplied the company with leafy greens.

Natural Selection Foods, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif., has recalled more than 30 brands, including Dole, President’s Choice, Ready Pac, Trader Joe’s, Nature’s Basket and Premium Fresh.

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