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

Lexington, Kentucky Woman, Vickie Shelton, may have died from E. coli-tainted hamburger produced by American Foods Group

Knox Times-Tribune staff writer Heather Cole wrote, “the death of a Knox County woman is under investigation and E. coli O157:H7 bacteria is believed to be the source of her illness. Vickie Shelton, 47, died Monday afternoon at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington after being admitted.” She also wrote “officials at the U.S. Department of Heath in Fayette County are testing samples of ground beef Shelton had reportedly consumed prior to becoming sick. American Foods Group (AFG) of Green Bay, Wisconsin issued the recall on products produced in October and reportedly shipped to retailers and distributors in seven states including Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Virginia. The recall, issued November 24, is a class 1 recall with health risks listed as “high.” The problem was discovered through an investigation into two illnesses that was initiated by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As I wrote in a previous blog post:

We have seen this all before. In December 1998, a recall was issued for 1,000 pounds of beef manufactured by AFG and distributed to Cub Foods stores in the Chicago, Illinois area after random testing showed that meat in one of the stores was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. In December 1999, a recall of ground beef was made after government inspectors found contamination at the AFG plant. In December 2000, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a press release stating that 17 Minnesota citizens had been infected with the same strain of the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria during November 2000. On December 4, FSIS, stated in a Class I alert that Green Bay Dressed Beef, the meat supplier doing business as AFG, was, at the suggestion of the FSIS, recalling 1.1 million pounds of contaminated ground beef. Yet another recall, this time for over 500,000 pounds of ground beef manufactured by AFG, occurred in August 2001.

I am beginning to loose track of how many illnesses have been caused by E. coli-contaminated hamburger this year (must be well over 1,000 officially reported) and how much meat has been recalled this year (must be in excess of 32,000,000 pounds).  And, "we have the safest food in the world?"  I say, Bull#%^*!