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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Kroger, Recall Your E. coli Contaminated Meat and Tell The Public Who Supplied It, Says William D. Marler, Food Safety Attorney

With the Michigan State Health Department linking Kroger ground beef to many of the illnesses in Michigan (which have also been linked to illnesses in Ohio), Kroger must recall all possibly contaminated ground beef said Seattle food safety attorney William D. Marler.

In 2007 companies voluntarily recalled ground beef products 21 times. The amount of recalled meat was more than 33 million pounds. The goal of a recall is to get the contaminated meat out of people’s homes, especially freezers. According to Marler, with nearly 50 people sickened in Ohio and Michigan E. coli outbreaks, it is irresponsible for a company like Kroger to not recall all potentially contaminated ground beef sold through their stores.

"Frankly, Kroger should recall the ground beef first and foremost for the safety of its customers, but also for self-preservation. If people become ill after Kroger could have recalled its ground beef products, it is exposing itself to a claim for punitive damages for having consciously ignored a known health risk to its customers," said Marler.

Interestingly, within a few hours of the above, this article appeared in the Toledo Blade:

Kroger recalls ground beef over E. coli fears; 32 stricken in Ohio, Michigan

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in E. coli litigation, said it took the USDA and Kroger too long to announce the recall. He said it’s rare for this many people to get sick before the announcement of a recall.

“They have certainly known for days, if not a week, that the epidemiological evidence was very strong that it was hamburger,” he said. “They should have done everything they could to get these products off the market.”

For full recall information visit FSIS.

  • Walt Hill

    Absolutely. This seems to be the best course of action to protect both public health and the image of corporate responsibility. It appears to be a win-win situation. But, Kroger, why couldn’t you reach this decision in-house much faster and without prodding from the outside. I’d give you a B- and that’s being generous. To get to the head of the class, announce a change in corporate policy to act quickly in the interest in the health of your most important asset, your customers.