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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Lightening Does Strike Twice for KFC and E.coli

William Marler, a Seattle attorney who represents children throughout the United States poisoned by E. coli, speaks out on Ohio and Kentucky E. coli cases tied to Kentucky Fried Chicken Coleslaw.

“Nearly everyday I hear about another case of E. coli, Salmonella or Lysteria tied to some food product. However, I have never seen a situation where the same product injures different people who ate at the same restaurant chain one year apart — usually a company learns from past mistakes,” said attorney William Marler of Marler Clark. According to reports by the Omaha World-Herald in March 1999, KFC was implicated in 27 confirmed E. coli illnesses stemming from coleslaw at a Greenwood, Indiana restaurant in May 1998.

At that time, the Indiana Health Department found:

  • The cabbage was packaged in net bags, which could have allowed for contamination during shipment.
  • Food handlers at the restaurant did not wash the cabbage before shredding despite noticing that it was of poor quality and heavily soiled when it arrived. This probably allowed the E. coli organism to be introduced into the coleslaw.
  • The restaurant with the illnesses quickly changes its coleslaw preparation practices to include the use of pre-washed and pre-shredded cabbage rather than whole cabbage.

“It is frankly shocking that KFC did not move faster to assure its customers that lightening, in the form of E. coli, would not strike twice. I think the Ohio and Kentucky Health Departments should look very hard at pressing charges against KFC,” added Marler.