In October, 2011 Missouri health officials linked a spreading E. coli O157:H7 outbreak Schuncks supermarkets. The early suspected source of the E. coli outbreak was fresh produce served at Schnucks stores in the St. Louis area, but all tests on food samples from Schnucks salad bars returned negative for E. coli contamination. Interviews with E. coli patients did not point to a specific food served at Schnucks that was the source of the outbreak. In total the outbreak sickened 60 people including 30 hospitalizations in 10 states: Arizona (1), Arkansas (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (9), Indiana (2), Kansas (3), Kentucky (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (37), and Nebraska (1).
Romaine Lettuce Identified as Source of Outbreak
On December 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report pointing to romaine lettuce from a single producer and distributor as the source of the outbreak. Investigators believe the contamination occurred prior to lettuce entering the Schnucks stores. The report did not name the producer or distributor however, after filing the first lawsuit against Schnucks Marler Clark E. coli attorneys learned that Vaughan Foods of Moore, Oklahoma was the romaine lettuce distributor in question.
Marler Clark filed two lawsuits against Schnucks and Vaughan Foods: