“Listeria monocytogenes is a particularly nasty pathogen that can cause severe injury, including death. It appears that Bil Mar Foods and Sara Lee will ultimately be held responsible for this incident,” said, William Marler, whose law firm Marler Clark has represented victims of food borne illnesses through out the United States.

Denis Stearns, a Marler Clark partner said, “It is becoming apparent that listeria is more common than we previously thought, and requires greater vigilance from both food manufacturers and consumers.” Continues Stearns, “If it is confirmed that this outbreak is linked to cold cuts, then there is truly cause for alarm. This is food that is intended to be eaten without being cooked. There’s nothing a consumer could have done to avoided this. It’s like being sucker-punched.”

In 1983 in Massachusetts, 49 people became ill after consuming contaminated pasteurized milk. 42 cases occurred in immuno-compromised adults. Fifteen deaths resulted. In 1985 in California, there were 86 cases of listeriosis due to consumption of Mexican-style soft cheese made from raw milk. Forty-two of the neonatal infants developed listeriosis. In Texas, 1988, a female cancer patient died as a result of listeriosis after consuming turkey frankfurters. The turkey frankfurters, which came from a processor in Texas, and were found at supermarket outlets and in the woman’s refrigerator, tested positive for Listeria.