Seattle-based foodborne illness expert and attorney Bill Marler will be in Boston Wednesday (10/28/09) to meet with a victim of the widening South Shore Meats E. coli outbreak.
“I’m very concerned that the number of people sickened in this outbreak will continue to grow,” said Marler from Chicago, where he was addressing a conference on foodborne illness litigation. “There was an inexplicable delay between the time the illnesses were linked to meat and an official recall was issued. Speed is crucial in an E. coli outbreak, and can make a vital difference in the number of people who consume the tainted product and fall ill.”
Twenty people who were at Camp Bournedale in Plymouth, MA in mid-October have reported diarrheal illness. So far, two of the ill are confirmed to have contracted E. coli O157:H7 and tests are pending on others. Two victims have been hospitalized. On October 24, Camp Bournedale said that state and federal health officials had linked the illnesses to hamburger, but a recall was not issued until the early hours of October 27.
Marler’s client Stephanie Smith was featured in a front-page story in the New York Times detailing the long and troubled history of E. coli and hamburger. The story sparked a nationwide discussion on the safety of ground beef, including an hour-long show on Larry King Live.
“Stephanie is not alone in her struggle to recover from E.coli infection,” continued Marler. “It is a devastating illness, as the affected families in this area know. I’ll do my best to help them through the process.”
Marler was already scheduled to be in Boston this week on behalf of a victim of the 2007 Whittier Farms Listeria outbreak. When Boston-area victims contacted him, he extended his stay to be able to meet with them.