All News / Case News /

Stop & Shop E. coli Case - New Hampshire (2007)

On September 14, 2005 the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) Public Health Laboratory (PHL) learned that an E. coli O157:H7 isolate had been cultured from a stool sample obtained at a New Hampshire hospital. NHDHHS PHL conducted additional testing and issued a laboratory report confirming the diagnosis on September 16.

Health department investigators spoke with the uncle of the patient, and learned that the child, who was hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), had eaten ground beef purchased from a Stop & Shop Grocery Store in Manchester, New Hampshire, at a barbeque over Labor Day weekend. NHDHHS obtained frozen leftover meat from the barbeque for microbiologic testing on September 21.

That same day a City of Manchester Department of Health Environmental Health specialist visited the Stop & Shop. His report notes:

The establishment keeps logs of their cleaning and sanitizing of the grinder. The grinder is used only for grinding beef. There are, however, two different methods for providing 75% lean ground beef. Most common is regrinding “chub” or already ground beef which comes on large tubes. The other method is to grind “trim” or pieces of cut beef (scraps of whole muscle material). There is no differentiation of “chub” versus “trim” on packaging. In addition, it was reported that because this was a holiday weekend it was more likely that trim ground beef was used, but there is no certainty.

During the inspection, two food safety critical violations were noted.

Preliminary results of the meat testing were reported to NHDHHS epidemiologists on September 22. E. coli O157:H7 was found in all seven samples of frozen ground beef that were submitted. City of Manchester Department of Health officials persuaded Stop & Shop management to issue a Public Health Advisory which was released at 9:00 pm on September 23. The advisory recommended that customers who purchased ground beef at the Stop & Shop on September 3 should not use the product and return it to the store for a full refund.

The NHDHHS Public Health Laboratory conducted pulsed field gel electrophoresis subtyping on isolates obtained from meat culture and culture of the ill child’s stool specimen and confirmed that the strain of E. coli isolated from 6 meat samples was a match to the E. coli strain isolated from the child’s stool when using the XBA restriction enzyme. Three of the 6 meat isolates matched when BLN restriction enzyme was used.

Stop & Shop did not keep records of what trim was ground and added to its tubed meat to produce the product used at the barbeque. As a consequence, the USDA could not conduct a thorough traceback to determine the initial or “upstream” source of the contaminated meat. No additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 were reported in the Manchester area and the investigation was closed in October 2005.

Marler Clark represented the family of the child who became ill with E. coli in a claim against Stop & Shop. The claim was resolved in 2007.

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
E. coli Food Poisoning

What is E. coli and how does it cause food poisoning? Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a highly studied, common species of bacteria that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae, so...

E. coli O157:H7

E. coli O157:H7 is a foodborne pathogen that causes food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 is the most commonly identified and the most notorious Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serotype in...

Non-O157 STEC

Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli can also cause food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 may be the most notorious serotype of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), but there are at least...

Sources of E. coli

Where do E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) come from? The primary reservoirs, or ultimate sources, of E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC in nature are...

Transmission of and Infection with E. coli

While many dairy cattle-associated foodborne disease outbreaks are linked to raw milk and other raw dairy products (e.g., cheeses, butter, ice cream), dairy cattle still represent a source of contamination...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database