On August 3, 2004, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that Carneco Foods was recalling 497,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties manufactured at its Columbus, Nebraska plant on June 21, 2004 due to potential contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The recall was initiated after epidemiological evidence linked illness to consumption of the Carneco ground beef patties. Five Minnesotans and one Wisconsinite had tested positive for a genetically indistinguishable strain of E. coli O157:H7 after consuming “Northern Plains” ground sirloin patties purchased at Sam’s Club stores.
The Minnesota Department of Health investigation into the outbreak revealed that three adults and one child had become ill with E. coli infections after eating hamburgers made from Northern Plains patties purchased at Sam’s Club stores in White Bear Lake and in Eagan. The Wisconsin victim had purchased Northern Plains ground beef patties at a Sam’s Club in Waukesha.
Marler Clark represented a ten-year-old Eagan, Minnesota, resident who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating a Northern Plains ground beef patty purchased from the Eagan Sam’s Club.