August 25, 2000
Health inspectors in Milwaukee believe meat from Colorado led to an E. coli outbreak that killed a three-year-old girl and made 65 other people sick.
Health officials say they found the potentially fatal bacteria in meat sent to two Sizzler restaurants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the Excel meat pack facility in Fort Morgan.
The plant supplies beef to restaurants and businesses across the country.
The Milwaukee Health Department believes contaminated raw meat came in contact with watermelon and salad items on the buffet and they picked up the E. coli.
An attorney for one of the people who got sick says this happens too often. Bill Marler said, “All of this is so completely preventable and it just pains me to see the same thing happen to a company the same thing happen to a community that is completely preventable. It's really painful to watch.”
The United States Department of Agriculture has been conducting its own tests on the tainted meat and found a fairly rare and particularly dangerous strain of E. coli.
A spokesman for Excel says that the company feels terrible about the problems and takes food safety very seriously. The spokesman said the company will cooperate with the USDA’s ongoing investigation.
The company tried to recall the rest of the meat - but most has already been eaten.