About E. coli Blog
In the beginning of yet another – in fact two E. coli Outbreaks that have sickened dozens, Marler Clark, The Nation’s Food Safety Law Firm, relaunches www.about-ecoli.com.
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $700 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.
PT Farm, LLC, a North Haverhill, N.H. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,800 pounds of raw beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The raw, intact and non-intact beef product items (ground beef, ground beef patties and other sub-primal cuts) were produced between June 6 and June 16, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Chestnut Farms” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “PT Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Miles Smith Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Robie Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “M8868” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations and for institutional use in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
FSIS was notified of an E. coli O157:H7 illness cluster on July 20, 2016. Working in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, FSIS determined that there is a link between the beef products from PT Farm and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological investigation, 14 case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from June 15 to July 10, 2016. Traceback for 8 case-patients for whom data was available led back to a single day of production at PT Farm. This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.
Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
Good Food Concepts, LLC, doing business as Ranch Foods Direct, a Colorado Springs, Colo. establishment, is recalling approximately 2,606 pounds of non-intact beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The non-intact beef items were produced on June 6, 7, and 8, 2016. The following products are subject to recall: [Labels (PDF Only)]
- Packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef 4-1 Ground Beef Patties 15# case.”
- Packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef 4-1 Ground Beef Patties 5# box.”
- Packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef 3-1 Ground Beef Patties 5# box.”
- Packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef 2-1 Ground Beef Patties 15# case.”
- 1-lb. packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef Ground Beef 85% 1#.”
- 1-lb. packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef Ground Beef 80% 1#.”
- 1-lb. packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef Ground Beef Sirloin 90% 1#.”
- Packages containing “Callicrate Beef Ground Beef: Beef Ground Beef 85/15 1# x 20 Bundle.”
- Packages containing “Callicrate WAGYU Beef Ground Beef: WAGYU Ground Beef 1#.”
- 1-lb. packages containing “Beef Stew Meat Tenderized.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct Ground Beef 85/15.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct Ground Beef 80/20.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct Ground Chuck.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 3/1 Patties NET WT. 15#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 2/1 Patties 7 OZ NET WT. 15#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 3/1 Patties NET WT. 5.0#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 4/1 Patties NET WT. 15#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 2/1 Patties NET WT. 15#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct 80% Lean 20% Fat 6/1 Patties NET WT. 15#.”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct Ground Beef (73/27).”
- Packages containing “Ranch Foods Direct Ground Tenderloin.”
- Products identified as “Cowpool D 1/4.”
- Products identified as “Cowpool A 1/8.”
- Packages containing “Chef’s Bundle: 4-Skirt Steak, 6- NY Strips, 6-Top Sirloin, 3-Chuck Roast, 2-Cube Steak, 15-Ground Beef 80% Lean 20% Fat.”
- Packages containing “Colorado Bundle: 4-Skirts Steaks, 4-Chuck Eye Steaks, 4-Top Sirloin, 2-Chuck Roast, 15-Ground Beef 80% Lean 20% Fat.”
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 27316” inside the USDA mark of inspection and “PACKED ON” dates of June 6, 7, and 8, 2016. These items were shipped to wholesale and retail locations in Colorado.
FSIS was notified of an E. coli O157:H7 illness possibly associated with ground beef consumption on July 14, 2016. Working in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the El Paso County Public Health Department, FSIS determined that there is a possible link between the ground beef products from Ranch Foods Direct and this illness. Based on epidemiological investigation, one case-patient has been identified in Colorado with an illness onset date of June 12, 2016. FSIS confirmed ground beef products originating from Ranch Foods Direct were adulterated with E. coli O157:H7 on July 25, 2016 through laboratory testing and traceback investigation. FSIS continues to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the El Paso County Public Health Department on this investigation and provides updated information as it becomes available.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 1–10 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.
Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
Over the last 20 years Bill Marler has become recognized as the most experienced and prominent E. coli lawyer in the United States. He is the managing partner of Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, the nation’s only law firm with a practice focused exclusively on representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks.
Bill and the other E. coli attorneys at Marler Clark have successfully represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks, including hundreds who suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), mostly children.
E. coli Lawyer Bill Marler Fights on Behalf of Victims
E. coli lawyer Bill Marler began fighting for the victims of foodborne illness in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company. The 2011 book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and Bill’s role in a case that would change history. Since 1993, the E. coli lawyer has fought for victims both in the courtroom and in the halls of Congress, advocating for a safer food supply.
E. coli Lawyers Get Results
The E. coli lawyers at Marler Clark have recovered over $600 million for clients and have brought E. coli and HUS lawsuits stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and dozens of other food products. Our attorneys have brought E. coli lawsuits nationwide against such major companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, Walmart, Kroger, KFC, Taco Bell, Sizzler, Nestle and Wendy’s.
E. coli Lawyer with Experience and Integrity
E. coli lawyer Bill Marler has been interviewed and profiled by many major newspapers and magazines and is a frequent guest on many television shows. His peers and clients have voted Bill as one of the “Best Lawyers in America,” a “Super Lawyer” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer.” He has also been consistently ranked as an “A” with the American Bar Association and a “10” at Avvo. In 2010 Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education and in 2008 earned both the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association and the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
Bill Marler is the nation’s leading attorney representing victims of foodborne illness and a stalwart advocate for improved food safety in the United States and abroad. His work began in 1993 when, as a young lawyer, he won record settlements for the families of children made seriously ill in the infamous Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. He has since lead his law firm, Marler Clark, to the apex of the legal world by representing thousands of victims of food poisoning.
Bill has continued to litigate against the food industry and to attract clients who need his services. In 2007, a 19-year-old dancer, Stephanie Smith, sickened by E. coli-tainted hamburger was left brain damaged and paralyzed. Her story found its way to the front page of the New York Times in 2009 and landed the paper and its investigative reporter, Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize. Her case against Cargill settled shortly before trial in 2010 for an amount “to care for her for life.”
In 2009 Linda Rivera, a 57 year old mother of six from Nevada was stricken with what Dr. Siegler described as “the severest multi-organ (bowel, kidney, brain, lung, gall bladder, pancreas) case of E. coli mediated HUS I have seen in my extensive experience.” Linda’s story hit the front page of the Washington Post and became Senator Harry Reid’s touchstone for moving the Food Safety Bill in 2010.
Working with industry, academia, and government, Marler’s efforts to create a safer food supply have transcended the courtroom. His spends roughly half his time speaking around the world on the need for improved food safety. To bring discussion to the public, he publishes the acclaimed online newspaper Food Safety News and shares his own opinions and insights on his blog, http://www.marlerblog.com which is read by over one million people annually.
He has petitioned the USDA to increase foodborne pathogen regulation and has commissioned private studies to test for unregulated pathogens in the food supply. In Congressional testimony, he has asked the United States government to “Put me out of business”, calling on it to pass updated, meaningful food safety laws. In 2011 his work was credited in the passage and signing of the Food Safety Modernization Law– the first major food safety update in decades.
Though his efforts to reform the food industry have come at the price of long hours and frequent travel, when he is at rest he can be found spending time at his Bainbridge Island home with his wife Julie and three daughters, Morgan, Olivia, and Sydney.
Dirk Werber aEmail Address, Martina Bielaszewska b, Christina Frank a, Klaus Stark a, Helge Karch b
Hugh Pennington’s thorough review (Oct 23, p 1428)1 focuses on classic (ie, non-sorbitol-fermenting) enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7, the main cause of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) worldwide. However, its phylogenetically close relative, sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157:NM (non-motile), warrants note.
Sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157 accounts for 17% of sporadic cases of HUS2 and caused seven outbreaks in Germany between 1988 and 2009, the largest of which involved 38 cases of HUS.3 A large outbreak also occurred recently in the UK.4 Several features distinguish sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157 from its prominent cousin, E coli O157:H7. First, outbreaks caused by sorbitol-fermenting O157 strains are dominated by children with HUS who require more sessions of haemodialysis and have a higher risk of dying (case-fatality 11%) than do HUS patients infected with E coli O157:H7.3, 5
Second, culture-based methods that make use of selective and differential media will not detect sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157.5 Targeting of the sfp gene cluster (encoding Sfp fimbriae) as a marker can reliably screen for sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157, but is seldom applied even in specialised laboratories, resulting in underdiagnosis of this pathogen.
Third, the reservoir and exposure routes of sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157 are still unknown, but they are likely to be different from those of E coli O157:H7. Consequently, existing prevention guidelines for E coli O157 might not be appropriate for sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157—a pathogen with probably greater virulence.
Because no specific treatment is available for HUS, prevention is pivotal. Further epidemiological investigations on reservoirs and risk factors for sorbitol-fermenting E coli O157 infections are needed, which will require timely identification of cases. Therefore, we recommend sfp testing of stool specimens in all children with HUS, in addition to screening for E coli O157:H7 on sorbitol MacConkey agar.
We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.
1 Pennington H. Escherichia coli O157. Lancet 2010; 376: 1428-1435. Summary | Full Text | PDF(316KB) | CrossRef | PubMed
2 Bielaszewska M, Kock R, Friedrich AW, et al. Shiga toxin-mediated hemolytic uremic syndrome: time to change the diagnostic paradigm?. PLoS One 2007; 2: e1024. CrossRef | PubMed
3 Alpers K, Werber D, Frank C, et al. Sorbitol-fermenting enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H- causes another outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome in children. Epidemiol Infect 2009; 137: 389-395. CrossRef | PubMed
4 Pollock KG, Locking ME, Beattie TJ, et al. Sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157, Scotland. Emerg Infect Dis 2010; 16: 881-882. PubMed
5 Ammon A, Petersen LR, Karch H. A large outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by an unusual sorbitol-fermenting strain of Escherichia coli O157:H. J Infect Dis 1999; 179: 1274-1277. CrossRef | PubMed
a Robert Koch Institute, Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, 13086 Berlin, Germany
b Institute of Hygiene and National Consulting Laboratory on Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
New and tougher standards have been implemented for all ground beef purchased for USDA’s numerous federal food and nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program.
The new standards will apply to ground beef contracts awarded on or after July 1.
In addition to continuing a zero tolerance for E. coli O157:H7 and salmonella, the new standards tighten microbiological testing protocols and microbiological limits, while also increasing sampling frequency.
Also, any vendor classified by USDA as having a long-term poor safety record will be considered an ineligible vendor until a complete cause-and-effect analysis is completed.
Guest Blogger – Colin Caywood
In honor of March’s official designation as National Kidney Month, fellow Food Safety News contributing writer Dave Babcock recently published an article, National Kidney Month Kicks Off. In his article, Babcock discusses the connection between long-term kidney health and food safety, a connection which most commonly flows from the development of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by toxins from foodborne bacteria like shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli).
As anyone who has been forced to suffer through ESRD can attest, the physical and mental effects it can cause are devastating.
While it is true that various treatment options presently exist, none of those options are especially desirable. The biggest and most obvious decision for a person diagnosed with ESRD to make is whether to sustain on dialysis for as long as possible, or seek out a kidney transplant, likely enduring dialysis anyway during the waiting period.
If given the choice, most people with ESRD will opt for a kidney transplant. There is evidence that a transplant can increase a person’s life expectancy up to three times longer than dialysis alone. It can also have a much less invasive effect on a person’s day-to-day life when compared with the requirements of dialysis. Unfortunately, the wait-time for a donor kidney is often a year minimum, but usually longer depending on a variety of factors.
One such wait time factor is blood type. For example, a person with a rare blood type O will have the longest wait period, usually three to four years. Because a patient with blood type O has antibodies against blood types A, B, and AB, it severely limits the donor pool from which a kidney may be harvested. If the patient is fortunate, perhaps a deceased or living close relative, such as a parent or sibling over the age of 18 and who is compatible with the patient, will be able to donate a kidney. Regardless, while awaiting a donor, an ESRD patient must undergo dialysis treatment just to survive until the transplant operation can be performed.
Assuming the patient survives the transplant procedure, they can then look forward to a lifetime of immunosuppressive medications, necessary to prevent their body from rejecting the transplanted kidney. The artificial suppression of the immune system is–as nearly anyone can surmise–fraught with considerable side effects.
Commonly used immunosuppresants include cyclosporine, tacrolimus, meclophenalate, imuran, and corticosteroids. Cyclosporine and tacrolimus have side effects that include increased hair growth and gum hypertrophy, as well as, ironically, damage to the kidney. Meclophenalate and imuran are known to cause low white blood cell count and increased susceptibility to infection. Corticosteroids can produce the undesirable Cushing’s syndrome (fatty deposits around the facial cheeks, as well as on the abdomen and back), weight gain, emotional instability, cataracts, decreased growth, softening of the bones and bone pain, hypertension, acne, and difficulty in controlling glucose levels.
Immunosuppressants, like those described above, are necessary for organ transplant recipients. They reduce the body’s immune response, thereby preserving the useful life of the transplanted kidney which the body would otherwise recognize as foreign and dangerous. If this occurs, it sets off a chain of events that culminate in the body’s rejection of the kidney. But because a healthy and timely immune system response is the body’s critical and natural defense against illness, immunosuppression therapy necessarily leads to a lifetime of heightened susceptibility to serious infection, accelerated hardening of the arteries, cancer, and chronic kidney rejection.
Assuming the transplanted kidney is received by the patient without complication, no transplant lasts forever. The patient’s transplanted kidney can be expected to last about 15 years if it comes from a living donor, or about 10 years if it comes from a cadaver. Of course, the younger the patient develops ESRD, the higher the probability that a second, or even third, kidney transplant will be required during their lifetime. As each transplant reaches the end of its useful life, the patient will fall back into the cycle of ESRD, dialysis, an increase in kidney-related medical problems and then–assuming another kidney transplant is possible–recovery from transplantation.
Either decision the patient makes–transplant or dialysis–will involve dialysis treatments regardless. As with a transplant, the patient’s quality of life is guaranteed to suffer markedly. There are generally two modes of dialysis an ESRD patient may undergo: peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis has been a major physical therapeutic method of therapy for ESRD for several years. Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and automated peritoneal dialysis, also called Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD), are the most common form of dialysis therapy used in children. In this form of dialysis, a catheter is placed in the area around the stomach. Dialysate (a chemical bath that draws fluids and toxins out of the bloodstream) is placed into the abdomen and changed four to six times a day. While children must often go to a medical treatment facility, adults can usually perform CAPD/CCPD at home.
The known compilations of peritoneal dialysis include peritonitis (infection of the fluid), which can be a major risk. Symptoms of peritonitis include fever, excruciating abdominal pain with movement, nausea, and vomiting. If left untreated, it usually results in death.
The other common dialysis method to treat ESRD is hemodialysis. During hemodialysis, blood in taken out of the body by a catheter or fistula, and circulated in a machine that simulates the kidney’s natural cleansing process, removing harmful toxins and excess fluid from the blood. While the hemodialysis process itself does not physically hurt, patients usually experience nausea and abdominal cramps as excess fluid is pulled from the body, along with fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate. Hemodialysis is generally performed three times a week, and takes a major time commitment–three to four hours per session is the average.
Beyond the transplant and dialysis complications, bone disease is nearly universal in patients with ESRD. As a result, patients will be prone to develop bone pain, skeletal deformities and abnormal shaped bones, and have a propensity for fractures with minor trauma. Treatment of the bone disease associated with ESRD includes careful control of the patient’s serum phosphorous and calcium levels with stringent dietary restrictions, calcium supplements, phosphorus binders, and various other bone disease-fighting medications.
The last major common complication of ESRD worth mentioning is anemia. Anemia can be treated with a shot of erythropoietin given under the skin one to three times a week, or once every few weeks with a longer acting dose. Erythropoietin is a hormone normally produced by the kidney that promotes the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. In patients suffering from ESRD, this hormone ceases to be produced, thus anemia results. Left untreated, anemia can cause severe fatigue, nerve damage, mental impairment, heart problems, and death.
Given the gloom and doom of this article, it is important to remember that a person’s diagnosis with ESRD is a not a death sentence. But just because a person is fortunate enough to survive a serious shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection and HUS–often the result of foodborne contamination–kidney damage sufficient to result in ESRD will continue to affect their life long after the E. coli infection has passed. The vast complications of ESRD are incredibly serious, often painful, and certain to drastically reduce a person’s overall quality of life.
Presence and Characterization of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Other Potentially Diarrheagenic E. coli in Retail Meats.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jan 15.
Xia X, Meng J, McDermott PF, Ayers S, Blickenstaff K, Tran TT, Abbott J, Zheng J, Zhao S.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, and Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742; Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration, Laurel, MD 20708; Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, College Park, MD 20740.
To determine the presence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and other potentially diarrheagenic E. coli in retail meats, 7,258 E. coli isolates collected by the U. S. National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) retail meat program from 2002 to 2007 were screened for Shiga toxin genes. In addition, 1,275 of the E. coli isolates recovered in 2006 were examined for virulence genes specific for other diarrheagenic E. coli. Seventeen isolates (16 from ground beef and 1 from pork chop) were positive for stx genes, including five for both stx1 and stx2, two for stx1 and 10 for stx2. The 17 STEC belonged to 10 serotypes: O83:H8, O8:H16, O15:H16, O15:H17, O88:H38, ONT:H51, ONT:H2, ONT:H10, ONT:H7 and ONT:H46. None of the STEC isolates contained eae, whereas seven carried EHEC-hlyA. All except one STEC isolate exhibited toxic effects on Vero cells. DNA sequence analysis showed that stx2 from five STEC isolates encoded mucus-activatable Stx2d. Subtyping of the 17 STEC isolates by PFGE yielded 14 distinct restriction patterns. Among the 1, 275 isolates from 2006, 11 atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) isolates in addition to three STEC were identified. This study demonstrated that retail meats, mainly ground beef, were contaminated with diverse STEC strains. The presence of atypical EPEC strains in retail meat is also of concern due to their potential to cause human infections.