I tried to take a day off and get in touch with my “inner outdoorsman” by hunting gators and ducks in Southwest Texas, but E. coli O157:H7 would not leave me alone.

Twenty-one people in New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania now have become ill after eating hamburgers contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that were made by a Elizabeth, New Jersey -based Topps Meat Company. As I blogged about yesterday, this is not the first time that Topps has been implicated with E. coli-related illnesses. Just a month ago we resolved a severe Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome case with Topps and its insurer for an undisclosed amount. One would think after nearly killing one child they would be far more careful.

On top of that, E. coli illnesses and outbreaks are becoming an all too common occurrence in 2007. A few examples:

1. At least thirteen people have been confirmed ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating ground beef produced by United Food Group sold in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Montana. Over 5,700,000 pound of meat have been recalled.

2. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. recalled 40,440 pounds of ground beef products due to possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. No illnesses yet reported.

3. Seven Minnesotans were confirmed as part of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that prompted PM Beef Holdings to recall 117,500 pounds of beef trim products that was ground and sold at Lunds and Byerly’s stores.

4. Twenty-seven people have been confirmed ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections in Fresno County. The Fresno County Department of Community Health inspected the “Meat Market” in Northwest Fresno, the source of the outbreak.

5. At least two people were confirmed ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections in Michigan after eating ground beef produced by Davis Creek Meats and Seafood of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The E. coli outbreak prompted Davis Creek Meats and Seafood to recall approximately 129,000 pounds of beef products that were distributed in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

6. Following reports of three Napa Valley children who became sick from hamburger patties sold at a St. Helena Little League snack shack, 100,000 pounds of hamburger (that was a year old) was recalled.

7. Several people were confirmed ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections in Pennsylvania after eating E. coli-contaminated meat products at Hoss’s Family Steak and Sea Restaurants, a Pennsylvania-based restaurant chain that purchased its meat from HFX, Inc., of South Claysburg, Pennsylvania. As a result of the outbreak, HFX recalled approximately 4,900 pounds of meat products.

A lawyer’s nightmare, guns, a “four-wheeler” and beer – THE VIDEO