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E. coli outbreak traced to Topps Meats

Proof that ‘Lightning does strike the same spot twice,’ says attorney

SEATTLE, WA -- The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service yesterday announced that Topps Meat Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was recalling 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The recall was prompted by a combined New York Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation into an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was determined to have been caused by consumption of Topps ground beef products.

New York is not the only state impacted by the beef recall and E. coli outbreak. The Associated Press reported today that residents of Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were part of the outbreak.

“We have a lawsuit pending in Albany County Superior Court that is the result of a 2005 E. coli case traced back to ground beef produced by Topps and sold at Price Chopper,” said William Marler, the nation’s foremost attorney representing victims of foodborne illness. “What we’re seeing here is that lightning does strike the same spot twice.”

Marler noted that for the first time since 2002, the number of meat recalls and E. coli outbreaks connected to ground beef has been increasing. “The CDC and USDA’s numbers have shown significant declines in E. coli outbreaks traced back to contaminated ground beef since 2002, and our client-base was backing those numbers up,” Marler continued. “Most of our E. coli cases in the last five years have been the result of contaminated produce, but not this year – we’ve filed lawsuits against California, Minnesota, and Oregon beef producers in the last six months.

“To quote Buffalo Springfield, ‘Something’s happening here.’”

BACKGROUND: Marler’s Seattle-based law firm, Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella, Campylobacter and Norovirus illnesses in over thirty states. In 1998, Marler and his current law partners formed OutBreak, a non-profit food safety organization. Marler dedicates a significant amount of his time to travel to food-industry and public health conferences, giving speeches about how to prevent food poisoning and the consequences of foodborne illness outbreaks. Marler comments on foodborne illness outbreaks and litigation at He is in Houston, Texas, today meeting with attorneys representing ConAgra – the company whose peanut butter products were identified as the source of a nationwide Salmonella outbreak earlier this year.

More about the Topps E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.

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