July 2006

www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety
“Iowa State University Extension believes that resources are needed for consumers, educators and students to access research-based, unbiased information on food safety and quality. The goal of the Food Safety Project is to develop educational materials that give the public the tools they need to minimize their risk of foodborne illness.”
www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/en/
“The Food Safety Network (FSN) at the University of Guelph provides research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues. A national repository of food safety-related information, FSN offers consumer, student and industry outreach services, information research, on-line resources, collaborative projects, evaluation and analysis, and a capacity to address current and emerging food safety concerns….
Foodborne illness can be simply an unpleasant experience or can have more serious consequences. Explore our website or contact us to learn more about the safety of food, from farm to fork.”

The Dare County, North Carolina Department of Public Health issued a warning to all patrons who ate at the Player’s Grille at Nags Head Golf Links on July 14 and 18, 2006. A restaurant employee who worked at the Player’s Grille on those days was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A, a virus that can lead to liver failure. Because the employee was infectious while working, the Dare County Health Department is encouraging all people who ate at the restaurant on July 14 and 18 to receive Immune globulin injections to prevent hepatitis A infection.

Continue Reading Golf course restaurant employee tests positive for hepatitis A

I never tire of telling and retelling this story – I just wished more people paid attention:
McDonald’s Callousness Was Real Issue, Jurors Say, In Case of Burned Woman
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – When a law firm here found itself defending McDonald’s Corp. in a suit last year that claimed the company served dangerously hot coffee, it hired a law student to take temperatures at other local restaurants for comparison.
After dutifully slipping a thermometer into steaming cups and mugs all over the city, Danny Jarrett found that none came closer than about 20 degrees to the temperature at which McDonald’s coffee is poured, about 180 degrees.
It should have been a warning.

Continue Reading The TRUTH about the McDonald’s hot coffee case

“When elephants dance, the grass gets trampled,” I told Joe Mandak of the Associated Press. “And in this case, the grass was Sheetz and its customers.”
Sheetz has settled all but a few customer lawsuits spawned by salmonella-tainted tomatoes sold at its convenience stores two years ago. But complicated legal battles involving Sheetz, insurance companies and food suppliers must now settle this question: Who gets stuck with the multimillion-dollar tab?

Continue Reading Sheetz Salmonella Outbreak Litigation: when elephants dance, the grass gets trampled

jack in the box ecoli outbreakI was asked last night how long I have been representing people sickened by food poisoning. It is a bit of a long story, but it really started in 1993, when I was able to secure a $15.6 million settlement on behalf of the most seriously injured survivor of the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli food poisoning outbreak, and several other multiple million dollar settlements on behalf of other Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak victims. Since then I have represented thousands of victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella, Campylobacter and Norovirus cases in over thirty states.

Continue Reading Thirteen Years Since Jack in the Box

I received the below email last week – thought I would share it and my response:
From: Dan Cahalan [mailto:dancahalan@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 3:23 PM
To: marler mail
Subject: Stop & Shop
Attorney Clark:
I read about the lawsuit against Stop & Shop on behalf of Eric Tsirovakas, who developed HUS from Escherichia coli O157:H7, apparently from an undercooked hamburger prepared by his stupid parents.
I agree that a restaurant is liable for undercooking ground beef. I also agree that a juice company is liable for selling juice with harmful bacteria. However it is not reasonable to expect that all raw beef in supermarkets be free of any shiga-toxin E. coli. Suing the store is the kind of action that gives lawyers the reputation for being blood-sucking parasites. When some one fails to thoroughly cook ground beef, that person is responsible.
For decades, I’ve worked as a food microbiologist, but I do not work for a supermarket or meat company. My Ph.D. is in microbiology.
Dan Cahalan, Ph.D.
Dr. Cahalan: I appreciate your comments, however misinformed – the USDA and FSIS have, since 1994, held that E. coli O157:H7 in hamburger is illegal (zero tolerance) because consumers, as opposed to microbiologists and lawyers, do not understand the danger and do not know how to properly handle or cook hamburger. In addition, the USDA and FSIS have found that cooking E. coli O157:H7 out of hamburger, for a variety of reasons, can be difficult and in some instances impossible.
Regarding the “blood sucking parasite” issue, I assume you did not mean to imply me or my firm. For additional information on what we do, please see my non-profit, www.outbreakinc.com. I would also urge you to spend time on www.about-ecoli.com and www.about-hus.com.

chicken entr√©e salmonellaLast week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH) issued a wake-up call to poultry processors — at least in spirit — when it announced that twenty-nine people, including many kids, recently contracted Salmonella from frozen, pre-browned, microwaveable chicken entrees.
This is not the first Salmonella outbreak associated with such frozen chicken entrees. The MDOH alone has investigated four of them since 1998; and several other states and Canada have recently seen recalls of Salmonella-contaminated frozen chicken nuggets and strips (my kids’ favorite). It is high-time for the poultry companies that process these chickens clean up their act . . . literally.
Most people don’t know this, but Salmonella bacteria don’t exist inside the chicken meat that we eat. Salmonella bacteria exist in a chicken’s gastrointestinal tract. Thus, when the chicken meat becomes contaminated with Salmonella, the contamination occurred because the meat was allowed to contact chicken feces. Yes, chicken poop.

Continue Reading Raw Chicken Entrees

Just so those folks that attack lawyers and what I am doing do not feel alone, I thought I would share this email I received a few months ago. I guess the bottom line is that whatever makes people try and make food safe is OK with me.
April, 10, 2006
F1: FDA food code instructor
Email: lawyersareparasites@yourmomshouse.com
phone: (260) 555-1212
comments: So where did they get the virus, Lawyer? Of course, you’ll tell them at a restaurant, when in fact most infections of food borne illnesses are from the customers own filthy homes.
That unfortunate fact doesn’t serve your the law profession, but I assure you people like myself in hospitality training and certification are doing are best to put people like you out of business, first and foremost for the customers safety, secondly because for once it would be to take food out a lawyer’s mouth…Sort of ironic, you shut down restaurants, I shut down lawyers…LoL
Have a bad, bad day you Parasite.
By the way – The term “parasite” came from the Greek “parasitos” (para-, along side of + sitos, food) meaning “eating at the side of, as at the same table.” Sort of like a dinner guest?

I thought it might be helpful to give some background on E. coli O157:H7 and the dangers it poses to our food supply, particularly in hamburger:
E. coli O157:H7 was first recognized as a pathogen in 1982 during an investigation into an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis[1] associated with consumption of hamburgers from a fast food chain restaurant.[2] Retrospective examination of more than three thousand E. coli cultures obtained between 1973 and 1982 found only one isolation with serotype O157:H7, and that was a case in 1975.[3] In the ten years that followed there were approximately thirty outbreaks recorded in the United States.[4] This number is likely misleading, however, because E. coli O157:H7 infections did not become a reportable disease in any state until 1987 when Washington became the first state to mandate its reporting.[5] As a result, only the most geographically concentrated outbreak would have garnered enough notice to prompt further investigation.[6]

Continue Reading E. coli O157:H7 Background – from Marler’s Perspective

29 ill after eating chicken entrees, the Star Tribune reports. Frozen, uncooked chicken entrees prompt concern by Minnesota officials who have traced 29 case of illness to insufficient cooking.
Food safety officials said today that 29 people in Minnesota got sick after eating frozen chicken entrees that were not cooked long enough to kill salmonella in the poultry.
Officials recommended against microwaving single-serving chicken products even when it’s listed as an option on labels. The entrees, usually stuffed and pre-browned, are made by several companies, and sold under various brand names in supermarkets’ frozen-food sections.
The entrees carry such names as chicken cordon blue, chicken kiev and chicken with broccoli and cheese. The products of concern contain raw chicken.

Continue Reading Salmonella outbreaks tied to Chicken Entrees