I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Lawsuit - Multistate (2017)
In March of 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments attributed a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC) to I. M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter. This outbreak included residents of Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Outbreak investigators collected open containers of SoyNut Butter from the homes of sick people, and unopened containers from retail locations. Whole genome sequencing revealed that the same strain of STEC was found in clinical isolates from sick people and containers of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. Epidemiologic investigation determined that 32 people ill with this strain of STEC had been infected by eating or attending a facility that served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter.
The damage caused by this outbreak has been considerable. Twelve people were hospitalized due to their infection, and nine developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a debilitating condition caused by STEC that is commonly characterized by kidney failure, but may also lead to brain damage, seizures, and diabetes. Children less than 10 years of age are particularly at risk for developing HUS.
I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter has been recalled, but given its long shelf life, it may still be in some people’s homes. This product, therefore, may continue to pose a threat to people’s health.
Marler Clark is currently representing individuals affected by the outbreak and working to achieve settlements on their behalf.