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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin Report 23 E. coli O157:H7 Sicknesses Linked to JBS Swift – When will FSIS Release the Names of Stores Where Meat Was Sold?

On June 24, FSIS issued a notice about a recall of 41,280 pounds of beef products from JBS Swift Beef Company that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. On June 28, the recall was expanded to include 380,000 pounds of assorted pieces of beef (beef primal products) from the same company.

The CDC reports today that twenty three persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular "DNA fingerprint" have been reported from 9 states. Of these, 17 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; confirmatory tests are pending on others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (4), Maine (1), Michigan (6), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (1) and Wisconsin (6).

Among 17 ill persons for whom hospitalization status is known, 12 (70%) were hospitalized. Two patients developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Now, a week into the recall FSIS and JBS Swift Beef has not disclosed the names of all stores that received the E. coli-tainted beef.  Why?  As I said to ABC News:

But Bill Marler, an attorney focused on food poisoning cases with the Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark, said if the FSIS waits 10 days, the information would be of little help to consumers who have already prepared for the holiday weekend — even if the FSIS is following the rule.

"It just seems inconceivable to me that they can’t release this information more timely so people who have this in their refrigerator know what to do with it or know what not to do with it," Marler said.

"Whether they’re absolutely following the rule or not, this is the kind of information that JBS Swift should have at their fingertips," he added.