When news came through TMJ4 that Wisconsin was now part of the German E. coli O104:H4 outbreak – the deadliest E. coli outbreak in memory – many were probably shocked.
However, E. coli, Wisconsin and me, have been far too familiar companions in the last two decades. From the horrible illnesses and death of a young girl in Sizzler to being the epicenter of the Nationwide 2006 Spinach E. coli Outbreak, the Wisconsin Department of Health and the Wisconsin hospital system is far too familiar with E. coli and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Here are a few examples from the pages of Marler Clark:
JBS Swift E. coli Outbreak – Nationwide
Carneco / Sam’s Club E. coli Outbreak – Wisconsin & Minnesota
Dole Lettuce E. coli Outbreak – Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oregon
Emmpak E. coli Outbreak – Wisconsin
Rochester Meat Company E. coli Outbreak – Wisconsin, California
Sizzler E. coli Outbreak – Wisconsin
And, today and Saturday in the news:
New York Times – Outbreak in Europe May Revive Stalled U.S. Effort to Tighten Rules on Food Safety
“The horrific illnesses that are happening in Germany will make government and industry here have to pay attention,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in food safety and who has petitioned the Agriculture Department to ban the pathogens from meat.
Washington Post – U.S. food-safety regulations lag
William Marler, a food safety advocate and lawyer who has represented many victims of food-borne illness, petitioned the USDA in 2009 to broaden the ban on E. coli O157 to include all related strains that cause illness in humans.
“What’s going on in Europe is devastating,” Marler said. “Our government needs to step in and say, ‘Public health takes precedent on this issue and we’re going to just jump on it.'”