Emmpak E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Wisconsin (2002)
In September of 2002, Wisconsin state health officials began investigating what appeared to be an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. A statewide notice was issued to local health departments, and regional offices of the Wisconsin Department Public Health received additional reports of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses.
A case-control study was initiated, and resulted in the identification of ground beef as the likely source of illness. Further investigation led to the discovery that Emmpak was the manufacturer who had produced the contaminated meat. On September 27, 2002, Emmpak recalled 500,000 pounds of ground beef for suspected E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recall was expanded on October 2, 2007 to include 2.8 million pounds of ground beef. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service deemed the plant’s sampling and testing procedures inadequate and the plant was closed.
Ultimately, 57 people became ill with E. coli infections after eating contaminated beef produced by Emmpak. Thirty-five of the victims were from Wisconsin.
Marler Clark represented two women who became ill with E. coli infections as part of the outbreak in claims against Emmpak. The claims were resolved in 2003.