According to FREDERIC J. FROMMER of the Associated Press, Federal officials refused to tell Minnesota authorities which of two beef plants were linked to a fatal E. coli outbreak last summer, according to a state report.  One woman died and at least 17 people were sickened from the E. coli outbreak in the Longville area, after eating ground beef.

The state report, dated in July, was sent to The Associated Press this week by the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark, which represents victims of food poisoning. Managing partner Bill Marler said his firm is not representing any victims from the Longville area, but may sue the USDA for not providing the information to state authorities. The state health department gave the report to AP on Thursday.

“I suppose it’s par for the course for USDA, but I’m shocked that the USDA refused to disclose the name of the plant that had the positive sample, which clearly is the source of the E. coli that poisoned people,” Marler said. “The USDA is more concerned with protecting industry than protecting the public health.”