April 2006

e coli outbreakOn April 10, Scripps Howard News Service reported that the federal government warned consumers Monday to take precautions cooking meat after disease detectives concluded there is a connection between 14 cases of illness caused by a dangerous strain of E. coli that has been found in seven states across the country in the last six months.
Amanda Eamich, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said scientific tests only recently connected the illnesses to the same pathogen – known by its scientific name E. coli 0157:H7 – but the source of the pathogen has not yet been determined.
“As the science gets better and better, we are going to be seeing more of this,” Eamich said. She said there is no group pattern to outbreaks of the disease that might have alerted the government earlier, and FSIS Monday issued a public health alert urging consumers to adopt safe practices when handling raw ground beef and other foods.

Continue Reading Feds issue warning about E. coli outbreak

On April 28, 2005, the Florida Department of Health announced the ongoing investigation of an upsurge of Florida residents ill with Cyclospora. Over the course of several weeks, Florida residents had complained of intermittent or persistent diarrhea, loss of appetite, substantial weight loss, bloating, increased gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue.
Over the course of the next weeks and months, Health Departments, including Sarasota County, worked to locate the cause of the outbreak. Sarasota County focused on the Beanstalk restaurant as the most likely source given the number of ill reporting having eaten there in the incubation period of this intestine burrowing parasite.

Continue Reading The Bean Stalk Cyclospora Outbreak

In the Abbott Cheese Listeria Outbreak, Marler Clark represented Molly Sandvick who was eight weeks pregnant when she and her fiance took a float plane from Seattle to Victoria for a weekend getaway. The couple, who are getting married that weekend, stayed at a resort hotel where they ordered from room service a plate with about eight varieties of cheese. Five days before the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned consumers not to eat B.C.-made Abbott’s Choice cheese products because they may be contaminated with dangerous bacteria that cause listeriosis, an infection of the blood that can be deadly. Sandvick was one of two women who ate the cheese and lost the babies they were carrying. To date, a total of 21 cases linked to Abbott’s cheese have been reported to public health officials.

The Florida State Fair outbreak was first recognized after two separate HUS case reports were posted on the Florida Department of Health EpiCom on March 18 and March 21, 2005. The two cases (a 5-yr-old girl and a 7-yr-old boy) both reported having visited a fair with a petting zoo (Agventure) a few days prior to becoming ill. The two children visited the same fair and did not have any other risk factors in common. The fair (the Central Florida Fair) was held from March 3-13, 2005.

Continue Reading Florida Fair E. coli Outbreak

On Sunday, May 22, 2005, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) was alerted to a possible outbreak of foodborne illness centered at Old South restaurant in Camden, South Carolina. DHEC officials commenced their investigation the same afternoon. The outbreak they would soon confirm turned out to be one of the biggest in South Carolina history, sickening over 300 people and killing one man.

Continue Reading The Old South Salmonella Outbreak

On November 6, 2004, the Chemung County Health Department issued a hepatitis A news release announcing that four persons had confirmed hepatitis A infections which were traceable to the Maple Lawn Dairy Family Restaurant in Elmira. The Health Department also advised that persons who had eaten at the defendant’s restaurant between September 26 and October 10, 2004 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus. A restaurant employee was diagnosed with the hepatitis A virus on October 10, 2004 and was working at the defendant’s restaurant while infected with the virus. The Department recommended that persons who had potentially been exposed receive injections of immune globulin, an antibody treatment that provides protection from the hepatitis A virus if exposure to the virus has occurred within 14 days prior to the injection.

In light of the July 8, 2005 FDA recall of unpasteurized juice produced by Orchid Island Juice Co. of Fort Pierce, Florida, Seattle attorney William Marler of Marler Clark, has called again on the FDA to completely ban the sale of all unpasteurized juices.
“It is simply outrageous that after all we’ve learned about the importance of pasteurizing fruit juice, especially after the Odwalla and Sun Orchard outbreaks, we still have companies selling unpasteurized juices, and the government allowing it. This must stop,” said Mr. Marler.
According to the FDA, fifteen cases of infection with Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium have been directly linked with consumption of Orchid Island juice in Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts from mid-May to mid-June.
“Not only was Orchid Island exempted from using pasteurization, it also appears that the FDA may have exempted it from labeling its juice as unpasteurized. Why the FDA would allow a company to produce an unpasteurized product and allow no warning label in beyond me,” Marler added.
The FDA in 1998 had set forth a labeling requirement that stated: “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria which can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Continue Reading Marler Clark Calls on FDA to Ban Sale of Unpasteurized Juices

“It is not the failure of the Meat Industry in not keeping cattle feces out of hamburger that sickened the child, but it is the fault of the parent who handled and cooked the hamburger that was fed to the child.”
This is a typical response to a sickened child by the meat industry and their lawyers.
At first I calmly tried to respond that the Meat Industry that makes a profit off of selling “USDA Inspected Meat” can not blame the consumer if the product actually contains a pathogen that can severely sicken or kill a child. What other product in the United States would a manufacturer expect consumers to fix themselves before they used it?

Continue Reading Response to the Meat Industry