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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Settlement in Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) Case Linked to 2007 E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

In the first major hamburger recall since 2002, on June 9, 2007, United Food Group voluntarily expanded its June 3 and 6 recalls to include a total of approximately 5.7 million pounds of both fresh and frozen ground beef products produced between April 6 and April 20 because it was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

An investigation carried out by the California Department of Health Services and the Colorado Department of Health, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preceded the recall of June 3. Illnesses occurred in Arizona (6), California (3), Colorado (2), Idaho (1), Utah (1) and Wyoming (1). Illness onset dates ranged between April 25 and May 18.

Four of those illnesses were children who developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

Their stories, like the stories of other victims of HUS linked to hamburger consumption, began with that all-American past time of eating a hamburger then lead to an acute illness where death was a real possibility. Now, it is a lifetime of risk of kidney failure.

We have been able to settle three of the four HUS cases. It will be interesting to see what a jury says about the other case. See some of the client videos to see what these families have experienced.

  • John Munsell

    Where did UFG purchase its meat which was ground into contaminated ground beef? E.coli (& Salmonella) are “ENTERIC” bacteria, which by definition means it emanates from within animals’ intestines, and by extension is found on manure-covered hides. UFG does not slaughter! Therefore, it has no intestines or manure-covered hides on its premises. In all liklihood, UFG unwittingly purchased meat from its slaughter providers which was previously contaminated with E.coli. These invisible bacteria cannot be detectyed by the naked eye, and their presence also cannot always be discovered by microbial sampling, unless we test every ounce of meat, which we know is impractical. If we truly want to control pathogens, we must place primary focus at the source, which is not UFG. John Munsell