Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) E. coli OutbreakIn late July and early August of 1999, the Ohio Department of Health counted 15 E. coli cases that could be traced to KFC restaurants in southwestern Ohio counties. Of the 15 E. coli cases, 12 culture-confirmed cases were found to have indistinguishable PFGE patterns in their E. coli O157:H7 isolates. This PFGE pattern was recognized as the outbreak strain.
KFC coleslaw was ultimately identified as the source of the E. coli outbreak. When sanitarians visited the implicated KFC restaurants, they found a number of deficiencies in the preparation of the coleslaw that could have contributed to the outbreak. Three particular food-handling errors were noted as possible explanations for the E. coli contamination in the coleslaw: inclusion of outer cabbage leaves, insufficient washing of cabbage, and the use of unpeeled carrots in the coleslaw.
Marler Clark represented a woman who became ill with an E. coli infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome after eating foods purchased from a Cincinnati KFC restaurant.