All News / Outbreaks /


From a cluster of cases reported by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, 64 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 were linked to area Sizzler restaurants – 62 in Layton and 2 in Mayfair. Of those infected, 4 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and 1 person died. In addition, there were reports of 551 probable cases and 122 possible cases of infection.
Samples from both restaurants were matched to the strain of E. coli found in patients, notably from the chunky taco meat and sirloin tri-tips. The meat was manufactured by the Excel Corporation, but were remanufactured by Sizzler chefs at individual franchise restaurants as part of their food preparation.
Although cross-contamination events are difficult to confirm, the State Department of Health speculates that raw watermelon may have been the vehicle for infection. The watermelon was contaminated when cut with the same tools as the infected raw sirloin tri-tip. Whereas the tri-tip may have been cooked according to health guidelines, the watermelon remained infected.
Sizzler has had several other incidents of E. coli outbreak in its history, all with similar examples of cross-contamination, where raw meats and multiple salad bar items were prepared in close proximity to each other.
Since the outbreaks, Sizzler has started to utilize pre-cut meats rather than prepare them in their kitchens. However, this does not necessarily mean that measures to eliminate cross-contamination have been implemented.

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