Jansen Saunders, a 10-year-old boy who attended Boy Scout camp in July, continues to recover from the E. coli O157:H7 infection he contracted there. Fredrick and Jennifer Saunders of Loudoun, Virginia filed suit along with their son on Friday in the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County. The lawsuit was filed against S & S Foods LLC, which supplied the camp with frozen hamburger patties. The plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness, and Maryland attorney William Schladt of Ward & Klein.
In July 2008, 84 people at a Boy Scout camp near Goshen, Virginia were infected with the highly toxic E. coli O157:H7. The outbreak was traced to hamburger meat manufactured and sold by S & S Foods of California. Jansen Saunders attended the camp from July 20 through July 26. Saunders ate hamburgers while at camp, and fell ill on July 25, experiencing bloody diarrhea, cramping, fever, nausea, and fatigue. He was hospitalized July 28-30, where he tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. S & S hamburger meat served at the camp tested positive for a genetically identical strain of E. coli O157:H7, and the company recalled more than 150,000 pounds of meat.
“We filed a lawsuit three weeks ago on behalf of another scout,” said the Saunders’ attorney William Marler. “And S&S Foods has yet to respond or take the first step in assisting the victims through this difficult time. Children were sickened by tainted meat supplied by S&S Foods, and the company needs to step up to the plate for the affected families.”
E. coli is often contracted by consuming food or beverage that has been contaminated by animal (especially cattle) manure. The majority of food borne E. coli outbreaks has been traced to contaminated ground beef; however leafy vegetables that have been contaminated in fields or during processing have been increasingly identified as the source of outbreaks—such as the current lettuce-borne E. coli outbreak in Michigan. Other identified sources are unpasteurized milk and cheese, unpasteurized apple juice and cider, alfalfa and radish sprouts, orange juice, and even water. There have also been outbreaks associated with petting zoos and agricultural fairs.