National Steak and Poultry
National Steak and Poultry, an Owasso, Oklahoma company, recalled approximately 248,000 pounds of beef products due to E. coli contamination. The recall was initiated after the FSIS and CDC worked with state health and agriculture departments traced E. coli illnesses back to steak products from National Steak and Poultry. The needle-tenderized "non-intact cuts" of beef were distributed to restaurants nationwide. Marler Clark called upon the FSIS to release the names of the restaurants that received the contaminated meat, and on Dec 28, National Steak and Poultry complied, confirming that the recall is limited to beef products sold primarily to the Moe's, Carino's Italian Grill, and KRM restaurants (KRM Restaurant Group operates Jeremiah Johnson's and nine locations of the 54th Street Grill). Illnesses in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington have been tied to the E. coli steaks. The CDC now counts twenty-one illnesses in 16 states.The victims live in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington State. According to the CDC, most of the people sickened in the outbreak fell ill between mid October and late November; nine were hospitalized; and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication, as a result of their E. coli infection.
Many E. coli outbreaks are linked to ground beef, however this outbreak is unusual in the the recalled beef is tenderized steaks. The mechanical tenderization process has been controversial in food safety circles because any E. coli bacteria on the outside of the meat can be driven by needles or blades into the center of the cut, where, unless the meat is cooked all the way through to a temperature of 160 degrees, it can severely sicken the consumer. Bill Marler has written and lectured on the dangers of tenderization, but, as this outbreak shows, it is still a common practice.
On January 21, Marler Clark filed an E. coli lawsuit on behalf of a Utah child sickened in the outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 28 people in 12 states became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating ground beef produced by Fairbank Farms. Several individuals were hospitalized due to the severity of their E. coli symptoms and at least two people died in connection with the outbreak. On October 30, Ashville, NY-based Fairbank Farms recalled 545,699 pounds of beef products due to E. coli contamination. The agency said retail stores, including Trader Joe's, Price Chopper, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw's, BJ's, Ford Brothers, and Giant, sold the ground beef. Each package carried the number "EST. 492" inside the USDA inspection mark or on the nutrition label. Ground beef packaged under the Fairbank Farms name was also distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia for further processing.
South Shore Meats, Inc - Camp Bournedale E. coli Outbreak
This outbreak began with sixth-graders and chaperones from Lincoln Middle School in Rhode Island, who fell ill after eating E. coli-contaminated hamburgers at Camp Bournedale near Plymouth, Massachusetts. At least 20 came down with diarrheal illness and three were hospitalized. Public health officials traced the meat to Brockton, MA Crocetti's Oakdale Packing Company, d/b/a South Shore Meats, Inc. On October 27, the company issued a recall for 1,039 pounds of beef due to E. coli contamination. Marler Clark represents students who became ill with E. coli at Camp Bournedale. Legal proceedings have already begun to help these families with their mounting medical bills.
Marler Clark is at the forefront of food safety advocacy, but until we can eliminate the need for E. coli outbreak litigation in this country, the firm will put its considerable experience and resources to work helping people who have been sickened by E. coli O157:H7.