Food Safety Attorneys Call on Emmpak to Release Test Results


SEATTLE, WA -- Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally known for its successful representation of the victims of food-borne illness, today called on Emmpak Foods Inc. to release all inspection records and microbiological test results related to the operation of its Peck Meats plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Emmpak is owned by Excel, whose Fort Morgan, Colorado plant was linked by Wisconsin State Health Department officials to an outbreak in which dozens were sickened and one was killed after eating at a Milwaukee Sizzler restaurant in the summer of 2000. This latest outbreak occurs after a summer plagued with ground beef recalls.

“Inspection reports, noncompliance records, and the results of USDA sampling and testing are all part of the public record,” said William Marler. “We have requested these records under the Freedom of Information Act, but the USDA has a checkered history in promptly responding to these requests. As a public service, Emmpak should release the documents itself.”

Last month, Emmpak recalled nearly 420,000 pounds of ground beef due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination, but not until after health officials confirmed that nearly fifty people in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois had become ill after consuming Emmpak-produced ground beef. This recall is the second in less than six months by the ground beef producer, the first being a 470,000 pound recall in May after potential E. coli contamination was detected.

“Emmpak obviously has a problem somewhere in its processing plant,” Marler continued. “Why were they allowed to keep operating this plant after the first recall, and how many test results came back positive for E. coli in the interim before this outbreak was tied to Emmpak? We’ll never know until these records are released.”

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Background: William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark, represented a nine year old girl in her $15.6 million settlement in the Jack in the Box E. coli case in 1993. In 1998, Marler Clark resolved the Odwalla Juice E. coli case for the five families whose children developed HUS and were severely injured after consuming contaminated apple juice for $12 million. Since 1993 Marler Clark has successfully resolved well over a thousand food-borne illness matters, including the Sizzler and American Foods Group E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in Wisconsin. For additional information on E. coli, visit www.about-ecoli.com.

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