PM Beef Holdings, Lunds & Byerly's E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota (2007)


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH) issued a press release on May 8, 2007, stating that an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak had been traced to ground beef purchased at four stores: Byerly’s St. Louis Park, Byerly’s Minnetonka, Byerly’s Chanhasen, and Lunds Edina – all west metro Minneapolis stores. As a precautionary measure, Lunds and Byerly’s removed all potentially contaminated ground beef from meat cases at their stores.

According to MDOH, five adults and two children became ill with E. coli infections after eating the contaminated ground beef, which was purchased in mid-April. All victims became ill with symptoms of E. coli infections between April 21 and April 28 after consuming the meat. Three individuals were hospitalized.

Marler Clark filed a lawsuit on Monday, June 11, 2006 against PM Beef Holdings and Lunds and Byerly's on behalf of a Minneapolis woman who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating contaminated ground beef. The firm represented three clients in claims against PM Beef Holdings. The claims were resolved in late 2007.

Preventing E. coli illnesses from ground beef:

Although the incidence of E. coli in ground beef has declined in recent years, ground beef should always be cooked thoroughly to prevent E. coli infection. Eating undercooked ground beef is the most important risk factor for acquiring E. coli O157:H7.[1] Because ground beef can turn brown before disease causing bacteria are killed, use a digital instant read meat thermometer to ensure thorough cooking. Ground beef should be cooked until a thermometer inserted into several parts of the patty, including the thickest part, reads at least 160º F. Persons who cook ground beef without using a thermometer can decrease their risk of illness by not eating ground beef patties that are still pink in the middle. If you are served an undercooked hamburger or other ground beef product in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking.

Avoid spreading harmful bacteria in your kitchen. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods. Wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat. Never place cooked hamburgers or ground beef on the unwashed plate that held raw patties.

Wash meat thermometers in between tests of patties that require further cooking.

[1] Slutsker L, Ries AA, Maloney K, Wells JG, Greene KD, Griffin PM. A nationwide case-control study of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in the United States. Journal of Infectious Diseases 1998;177:962-926.