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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

UPDATE – Was Valley Meats (or at least the plant) Linked to THREE Prior E. coli O157:H7 Outbreaks and Recalls?

Yesterday the FSIS announced that Valley Meats LLC, a Coal Valley, Illinois meat establishment (USDA EST. 5712) recalled approximately 100,000 pounds of ground beef products that are likely contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 after illnesses linked to the hamburger were reported in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.  One child is reported to have died as a result of E. coli O157:H7 complications – likely Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.  Valley Meats is located at 2302 1st St., Coal Valley, IL 61240.  One of the products recalled in this recent recall are a variety of J & B Brand Products.

Interestingly, J & B Meats Corporation (USDA EST. 5712) is (or was) also located at 2302 1st St., Coal Valley, IL 61240 and is (or was) a manufacturer of branded specialty meats and prepared foods serving the institutional food service market.  As of 2005, J&B Meats Corporation was a subsidiary of Topps Meat Company, LLC. Topps Meat was linked to dozens of illnesses in October 2007, was forced by FSIS to recall over 21,000,000 pounds of hamburger and eventually filed for bankruptcy.  J & B recalled nearly 175,000 pounds of hamburger in that recall, 76,000 pounds in August 2003, and in June 2002 recalled nearly 65,000 pounds of hamburger.

I guess some folks never learn.  The reality is that the 2009 E. coli season seems be underway, with an outbreak in Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania that has already claimed a young life.  Outbreaks spike up as temperatures climb, and so do the recalls.  There are lots of theories why, but regardless of how it comes about, come about it does.  2006 was a banner year in my book.  From 2002-2005, 28 million pounds of contaminated meat was recalled in step-down amounts year to year, but in 2006, the amount dropped to an impressive low of just 181,000 pounds.  The numbers of E. coli cases in my office reached exactly the point I am always striving for – zero.  Then E. coli came roaring back.   Since 2007, 41 million pounds of contaminated meat has been recalled – 100,000 of those pounds just last week in Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. E. coli is here, and it’s clearly deadly.