Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Now, it is “Blood Sucking Parasite”

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.