According to an FDA Press Release, Queseria Bendita of Yakima, Wash., is recalling three types of cheese, Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened

A rise in the number of Escherichia coli cases requires diligent detection efforts.
By Debby Giusti, MT(ASCP)
Ten-year-old Brianne Kiner spent 40 days in a coma in 1993, while teams of medical personnel worked round-the-clock to keep her alive. Brianne has little memory of the 118 days she was on kidney dialysis or the 80 units of blood she received, nor does she recall the numerous times the doctors told her mother that Brianne wouldn’t live through the night. What Brianne does remember is that her hospital ordeal left her with the dubious recognition of being the sickest child in the United States to survive Escherichia coli 0157:H7.
Over a 3-month period, more than 700 children and adults in four states in the northwest became ill after eating at various Jack in the Box restaurants. They suffered severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, often bloody, and close to 200 of the ill had to be hospitalized. Fifty-five cases progressed into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition that can lead to kidney failure and even death. Children and the elderly are most at risk for HUS, and in the 1993 outbreak, four children died.
Epidemiologists quickly recognized that those infected had eaten undercooked hamburgers served at more than 90 Jack in the Box restaurants in the four state area.2 The beef shipped to the restaurants was found to be contaminated with E. coli 0157, and to date, the outbreak remains the largest in U.S. history caused by the organism.


Continue Reading E. coli’s Insidious Spread

The Washington Supreme Court today declined to review last year’s Court of Appeals decision upholding a $4.6 million award to 11 children injured in a 1998 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was linked to undercooked taco meat served as part of a school lunch at Finley Elementary School. School District had sought the Supreme Court’s review arguing that school districts should not be held legally responsible if ill-prepared food sickens or kills a student. The Supreme Court refused to consider the argument.
Denis Stearns, one of the founding partners at Marler Clark, said:

“Washington State has a long history of holding school accountable when the children in their care are injured or killed. We believe that the Supreme Court’s decision today reaffirms the principle that, when it comes to preparing food for their students, a school’s foodservice operation should be held to the same high standard as any other restaurant licensed to operate in this State.”
“School-aged children are more vulnerable than most when it comes to exposure to contaminated food. Those who argue for lower-standards plainly do not understand what the problem is, or what is truly at stake. If anything, schools should be held to the highest standards. These are our children we are talking about.”


Continue Reading Marler Clark Heralds Washington Supreme Court Decision Upholding $4.6 Million Jury Award to School Kids Sickened in 1998 E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

As the Associated Press reported today, Marler Clark has filed yet another lawsuit against McDonalds. This one is on behalf of Helen Cook who contracted hepatitis A after eating a sandwich at a Mount Vernon McDonald’s restaurant.

From the article:

“It just underscores the need for fast-food restaurants to be ever vigilant about how they

Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally-known for its successful representation of persons injured in food-borne illness outbreaks, today announced that it had obtained a $1.06 million settlement on behalf of 29 persons infected with the Hepatitis A virus as a result of eating contaminated food at two local Subway Sandwich franchises.

“This is truly

Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit today in King County Superior Court against Senor Felix Gourmet Mexican Foods, a California Corporation implicated in the recent Shigella outbreak. The named plaintiffs are Larissa Spafford, Robert B. Spafford, and their two-year-old son, Jasper, of Port Townsend, Washington. Ms. Spafford purchased the dip at a Port Townsend

A piece of legislation called the California Safe Schools Lunch Act (AB 1988) was recently passed by the State Assembly and now awaits action by the State Senate. Unfortunately, its positive-sounding title might not satisfy the State’s own truth-in-labeling laws. The Bill’s passage and the passage of similar laws around the country could put school children at greater risk, not less, from the dangers of foodborne illness.

As originally drafted, the Bill restricted the State’s Department of Education from ordering irradiated ground beef from the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, an option that school districts have available for the first time in 2004. In its present form, it makes this additional food safety measure more difficult and expensive, at a time local school districts are financially strained. In some cities, like San Francisco, Berkeley and Washington, DC, local school boards have succumbed to pressure from irradiation opponents and voted outright bans on serving irradiated foods in cafeterias.

The problem is this: an estimated 73,000 people, many children, get E. coli infection every year and 61 die from it. The GAO found that between 1990 and 1999, 195 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses occurred in our schools, sickening thousands of children. I currently represent children who were made ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating contaminated lettuce served at Eastern Washington University, a school in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and schools in San Diego and Orange Counties. In the past, I represented children made ill after eating contaminated ground beef in Washington state and Georgia. The list goes on, and E. coli is not the only pathogen making our children sick.


Continue Reading Irradiating Foods – One More Step to Preventing Illness in Our Schools

From today’s Business Wire, Marler Clark is Suing Paramount Farms Over Salmonella-tainted Almonds. My firm filed a lawsuit against California-based almond producer, Paramount Farms on behalf of the Morris family of Kennewick, Washington, three of whom became seriously ill and required hospitalization after eating Salmonella-tainted raw California almonds produced by Paramount Farms and sold