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Bill Marler, Food Safety Lawyer, profiled in the Netflix Documentary “Poisoned” is available to speak about the recent E. coli outbreak linked to California Walnuts.

(Seattle) The CDC and FDA have reported that as of April 30, 2024, 12 people infected with E. coli have been reported from Washington and California. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 1, 2024, to April 4, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 7 (64%) have been hospitalized. Two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that can cause kidney failure.

“HUS can be deadly, and even for those who survive, they can be left with long term consequences, including the need for a kidney transplant,” said Bill Marler. “I have been doing E. coli cases since the 1993 Jack in the Box case and I have only seen one other E. coli outbreak linked to walnut in 2011 in Canada which sicked 14 leaving 1 person dead,” added Marler.

Traceback data collected by FDA determined that Gibson Farms, Inc of Hollister, California was the supplier of organic walnuts that were distributed to multiple natural food and co-op stores in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington and sold in bulk bins.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Marler Clark’s work as lawyers and food safety advocates is highlighted in the Netflix Documentary “Poisoned” now streaming. See: “Poisoned”: The Dirty Truth About Your Food | Official Trailer | Netflix

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