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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Lawsuits Filed in Multistate Outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Associated with Beef from Fairbank Farms and South Shore Meats

I am heading to a food safety conference here in Beijing sponsored by the Chinese Government.  However, we still had time to keep on top the food safety situation in the United States.

The parents of Andrea Munro, 12, of Marshfield, say their daughter became infected with E. coli after eating Fairbank Farm’s beef on September 24.

On October 31, 2009, FSIS issued a notice about a recall of 545,699 pounds of beef products from Fairbank Farms that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Health officials in several states who were investigating a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, with isolates that match by “DNA fingerprinting” analyses, found that most ill persons had consumed ground beef, with several purchasing the same or similar product from a common retail chain. At least some of the illnesses appear to be associated with products subject to these recalls. A sample from an opened package of ground beef recovered from a patient’s home was tested by the Massachusetts Department of Health and yielded an E. coli O157:H7 isolate that matched the patient isolates by DNA analysis.

The cluster includes twenty-eight persons from 12 states infected with matching strains of E. coli O157:H7. Of these, the genetic association of 7 human isolates and the product isolate have been confirmed by an advanced secondary DNA test; secondary tests are pending on others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Connecticut (4), Massachusetts (8), Maryland (1), Maine (2), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (2), and Vermont (1).

In the second case, the mother of Austin Richmond, 11, of Lincoln, R.I., says her son was infected with E. coli after eating a hamburger on a school trip to Camp Bournedale in Plymouth. Richmond’s burger was reportedly produced using meat from South Shore Meats, Inc., a subsidiary of Crocetti’s Oakdale Packing. Crocetti’s Oakdale Packing Co., doing business as, South Shore Meats, Inc., a Brockton, Mass., establishment, is recalling approximately 1,039 pounds of fresh ground beef patties derived from bench trim as well as mechanically tenderized beef cuts that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.