Minnesota School Hit by Deadly E. coli Bacteria


Seattle, WA - The attorney who represents the most seriously injured victims of foodborne illness in the United States, says parents, like those at Risen Christ Catholic School in Minneapolis, must demand to know where the food served to their children in school lunches comes from.

Seattle attorney Bill Marler says, “One of the things we’ve learned is that, unknowingly, schools too often receive food from suppliers and processors with the worst health safety records in the country.”

Marler, who successfully settled the case of a boy sickened by an E.coli O157H7 contaminated hamburger served in an Athens, Georgia school, and who currently represents a dozen children sickened by E.coli O157H7 bacteria they consumed in their lunch in the Finley School District of Washington State, says he is not surprised by the outbreak at Risen Christ Catholic School.

“Outbreaks from potentially deadly bacteria like E.coli O157H7 are all too common in our schools. It’s time we all do more to protect those most vulnerable to this deadly pathogen.” Marler said.

Marler references a General Accounting Office (GAO) study, released earlier this month, that found 17 outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with foods served in school lunch programs in 1997 and 1998, which affected an estimated 1,609 children. Earlier this year, Marler was a strong supporter of a Washington State bill that proposed to improve the safety of schools lunches in his home state.

Marler said he found the source of contaminated meats served in the Washington State school district, as well as the Athens, Georgia school district, came from processing plants with very poor safety records. “We aren’t going to stamp out food-caused illness in our schools until parents demand it, “ Marler added.

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Marler is the senior partner of the Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark. He is also a frequent speaker on food safety issues. He had represented hundreds of victims of foodborne illness throughout the United States in the last seven years, including those injured by the massive Jack in the Box E.coli outbreak in 1993; the Odwalla juice E.coli outbreak of 1996, and Sun Orchard juice Salmonella outbreak of 1999.