In August of 2005, two children who had been admitted to a Colorado hospital tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 infection. These positive tests triggered an investigation by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) epidemiologists, who learned that the children had consumed hamburgers at a picnic just days before becoming ill. Upon further investigation, CDPHE investigators learned that the hamburgers the children had eaten were made from pre-formed, frozen hamburger patties that had been purchased from a Colorado Wal-Mart store, and were produced by Flanders Provision Company.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was concurrently investigating a small nationwide cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases, and had learned that another Colorado resident tested positive for E. coli after consuming a hamburger made from Flanders Provision Company frozen ground beef purchased at Wal-Mart. Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) testing on isolates obtained from the three Colorado residents suffering from E. coli infection revealed that the strain of E. coli they had become infected with was indistinguishable from that of the outbreak strain.
On August 22, 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that Flanders Provision Company was recalling 900,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties due to possible E. coli contamination. Flanders Provision Company expanded its frozen ground beef patty recall to include an additional 184,000 pounds on September 23, 2005, after another illness was linked to the company’s product.
Marler Clark represented two children who became ill with E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome after eating hamburgers made from Flanders Provision Company frozen ground beef patties. The firm resolved the E. coli cases in 2007.