The Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH) issued a press release announcing its investigation into the 17 Minnesota E. coli cases on December 1, 2000. Most of the individuals reported having consumed ground beef from SuperValu/Cub Food stores in the few days prior to the onset of symptoms of E. coli infection. At the urging of state health officials, SuperValu/Cub Foods removed all fresh ground beef products from its stores in affected areas within Minnesota.
Following the Minnesota E. coli outbreak announcement, on December 4 the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that American Foods Group (AFG) was recalling 1.1 million pounds of ground beef for potential E. coli contamination.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Health linked three reports of Wisconsin E. coli O157:H7 cases to those reported in Minnesota. The final report completed and released by MDOH on the November 2000 outbreak concluded:
This was a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections caused by ground beef produced by American Foods Group . . . In Minnesota AFG was implicated through store grind records for retail ground beef from which E. coli O157:H7 had been isolated. . . . AFG plant (establishment 410) was the only common point in the distribution system that could explain all of the cases associated with SuperValu.
During the E. coli litigation related to this outbreak, Marler Clark filed E. coli lawsuits on behalf of several victims.
The firm’s lawyers have since represented dozens more Minnesota and Wisconsin residents in E. coli lawsuits against restaurants and food manufacturers, including ground beef, spinach, and lettuce producers.