Food Poisoning Information

San Diego County health officials are advising the public that anyone who may have eaten or had beverages at the World Famous restaurant in Pacific Beach on seven specific dates and times that they may have been exposed to a person with the hepatitis A virus.

The dates and times of potential exposure at the restaurant, located at 711 Pacific Beach Drive in San Diego, are:

  • 28, 29 and 30 between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • 3 and 4 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • 10 and 11 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

There is no known risk of hepatitis exposure at the restaurant now or on other dates and the investigation into the case is on-going and the source of the exposure has not been identified. At this point, it is too early to tell if the case is linked to the current hepatitis A outbreak.

“The risk to the public is low, but anyone who ate or had beverages at the restaurant on those dates and times should be aware of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., San Diego County public health officer.

“We encourage anyone who has not had the hepatitis A vaccine and those who may have been exposed to contact their health care provider.”

Individuals can obtain hepatitis A immunizations through their primary care physicians and through many pharmacies. Anyone who was exposed to the virus but is not covered by a medical insurance plan, and wants to be evaluated for hepatitis A vaccination may go to any County public health center, where vaccinations will be given at no cost.

The County’s North Central Public Health Center will have special hours on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to administer hepatitis A vaccinations. The center is located at 5055 Ruffin Road, San Diego.

Because the spread to patrons is unlikely, the California Department of Public Health does not routinely recommend immunization after a restaurant customer has been exposed to the virus. However, patrons who have not been previously immunized for hepatitis A should consider getting the vaccine no later than two weeks after exposure. If you have been immunized with the hepatitis A vaccine or previously had the disease, you are considered protected from the virus.

Someone with hepatitis can be contagious to others before they develop symptoms.  The early signs and symptoms of hepatitis A appear two to seven weeks after exposure and commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, light color stools, pain in the upper right abdomen, and yellowness to the eyes or skin (jaundice).

Hepatitis A varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and in more severe cases lasting four to seven weeks or longer. Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice or any symptom at all. However, even mildly ill people can still be highly infectious and should consult a physician.

The Hepatitis A vaccine is the preferred preventive treatment for healthy persons from 12 months to 40 years old. Either hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin may be used for those 41 to 59 years of age. The immune globulin is preferred for those 60 years of age and older, those less than 12 months of age, and those at any age who are immune compromised or have chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter – even microscopic amounts – from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by an infected person. People are at increased risk of getting hepatitis A when they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected individual, particularly in a household. Careful hand washing is the key to preventing the spread of hepatitis A.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

An E. coli O157: H7 outbreak that has shuttered three locations of the Chicken & Rice Guys, as well as its fleet of Middle Eastern food trucks, Boston health inspectors said last Tuesday. By Friday the number of ill jumped to 15 with at least 10 people hospitalized.

The department confirmed 15 cases of E. coli O157: H7 stemming from the Chicken & Rice Guys Allston location, which supplies food to the chain’s other outposts. The problems led to the suspension of its operating license.

The company’s four food trucks, which rotate locations around Greater Boston, were taken off the road Tuesday afternoon.

According to Boston Inspectional Services, the city received an anonymous complaint and opened an investigation Tuesday. Public health officials remained at the Allston site throughout the afternoon trying to determine a specific source of the outbreak.

Today Chicken & Rice Guys’ four restaurants have reopened after being linked to an outbreak of E. coli infections, but the company’s four food trucks and one pop-up eatery remain shuttered.

Omar Cabrera, a representative for the state Department of Public Health, said the state hasn’t found E. coli O157:H7 in more than 100 Chicken & Rice Guys workers tested so far. But tests were not complete for three workers as of Tuesday, said Ana Vivas, a representative for the Boston Public Health Commission.

State health officials are also awaiting test results that would confirm that all 14 people who became ill after eating at Chicken & Rice Guys have the same bacteria, Cabrera said; investigators can determine that by examining the genetic footprint of the organisms.

The cause of the infections hasn’t been determined, Cabrera and Vivas said. “It’s very difficult to say because so many parties are involved,” Vivas said, referring to food preparation and service.

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 $600 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.

Chicken and Rice Guys E. coli Outbreak

The CDC reported on May 4, 2017, that although the outbreak investigation is over, illnesses may continue for some time. The recalled SoyNut Butter products have long shelf lives and may still be in people’s homes or in institutions. People who don’t know about the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick.

Thirty-two people infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O157:H7 were reported from 12 states. Arizona 4, California 5, Florida 2, Illinois 1, Massachusetts 1, Maryland 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Oregon 11, Virginia 2, Washington 2 and Wisconsin 1. Twelve people were hospitalized. Nine people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported. Twenty-six (81%) of the 32 ill people in this outbreak were younger than 18 years. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter was the likely source of this outbreak. Several soy nut products were recalled:

  • On March 7, 2017, The SoyNut Butter Company recalled all varieties of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products.
  • On March 10, 2017, The SoyNut Butter Company expanded its recall to include Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter.
  • On March 24, 2017, Pro Sports Club recalled 20/20 Lifestyle Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars because they contain a recalled ingredient.
  • On March 28, 2017, the FDA issued a Suspension of Food Facility Registration Order to Dixie Dew of Erlanger, Ky., after an inspection revealed insanitary conditions at the firm that could affect the safety of finished products. Dixie Dew is the contract manufacturer for SoyNut Butter Company’s soy nut butter products. The close out of the outbreak investigation does not affect the suspension order.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions do not serve, any variety or size of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, I.M. Healthy brand granola, Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, or 20/20 Lifestyle Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars, regardless of the date of purchase or the date listed on the container. Even if some of the product was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of it away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can’t eat it.

The FDA announced on March 28, 2017, the FDA used authorities granted under the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to suspend the food facility registration of Dixie Dew Products, Inc. (Dixie Dew) of Erlanger, Kentucky, because products manufactured in this facility may be contaminated.

The FDA’s decision to suspend the registration of Dixie Dew Products was prompted by the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and the findings of FDA’s March 2017 inspection of Dixie Dew, which identified insanitary conditions that could lead to contamination with E. coli O157:H7 in finished products.

No food can leave the Dixie Dew facility for sale or distribution while the food facility registration is suspended.

On March 28, 2017, the FDA issued a Suspension of Food Facility Registration Order to Dixie Dew of Erlanger, Kentucky, after an inspection revealed insanitary conditions at the firm that could affect the safety of finished products.

The FDA inspected the facility between March 3 and 15, 2017.  On March 3, 2017, Dixie Dew refused to allow FDA investigators access to the facility’s environmental sampling and production records; the FDA subsequently issued a Demand for Records under section 414 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. After receiving the Demand for Records, Dixie Dew provided FDA investigators with the necessary records. At the close of the inspection, the FDA provided Dixie Dew with a list of the investigators’ inspectional observations (Form FDA 483), noting objectionable conditions seen during the inspection. Dixie Dew responded to the report in writing with a list of actions the firm has taken to correct the conditions; however, FDA found the corrective actions were not adequate to fully address the risks that were identified, and issued the Suspension Order to prevent further illnesses from occurring.

The Suspension Order applies to the entire facility. While the order is in effect, no food product may leave the facility for sale or distribution.

Specific problems noted in the suspension order and Form 483 included (blanks reflect redacted information):

– investigators observed grossly insanitary conditions that cause your firm’s soy nut butter products to be adulterated;
– food contact surfaces, floors, walls, and ceilings in the soy nut butter processing and packaging rooms were heavily coated with soy nut butter build-up from previous production runs.
– firm does not routinely wash and sanitize smaller pipes, pipe fittings, gaskets, seals, “or the rubber _____ plug” when broken down following a production run;
– firm does not conduct a kill step for SoyNut Butter product remaining in your firm’s mixing kettle leftover from a production run;
– plant Manager stated, up to _____ may remain in the kettle overnight or weekend prior to resuming production. You and your Plant Manager stated the kettle is shut off when product remains in the kettle overnight and/or over the weekend;
– plant manager and maintenance supervisor reported your _____ machine, used for fine mixing of the SoyNut Butter and ________, routinely shuts off during processing. Your Plant Manager stated this occurs one to two times per day and, this problem has persisted for approximately 15 years despite repeated maintenance intended to correct the problem;
– firm monitors the SoyNut ______ with a ______ thermometer, but plant manager stated he has never verified the accuracy of this instrument;
– you and your plant manager report, your temperature probe and chart recorder, initially engineered to verify and record _____ of product in the large mixing kettle, is not functioning properly and has not been used for well over a year.

FDA inspectors also noted problems with Dixie Dew’s food safety testing program, noting the company’s “failure to perform microbial testing where necessary to identify possible food contamination.” Inspectors found the testing materials on hand at Dixie Dew had expired in July 2016 and October 2015.

Problems in the Dixie Dew quality control lab were described in detail by FDA inspectors.

“An apparent fly infestation in your firm’s Quality Control and Product Development Laboratory was observed on 3/13/2017. Small apparent flies and fly larvae, too numerous to count, were inside an unplugged chest freezer,” according to the 483 report.

“A sealed blue plastic bag was inside the freezer and according to your plant manager, contained an egg product that became rotten when power was disconnected. The small apparent flies were observed along the laboratory counters and flying throughout the laboratory.”

FDA Form 483 (Inspectional Observations) for Dixie Dew Products, Inc.

Suspension of Food Facility Registration Order

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 $600 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.

Soy Nut Butter E. coli Outbreak

Seattle-based food safety advocate and attorney Bill Marler has been listed among The Best Lawyers in America©. The 24th edition of this prestigious publication was released this month.

Marler, who began his career representing those made sickest during the 1990s Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak, was chosen by his peers for inclusion on the list in the category Personal Injury Litigation and Product Liability Litigation.

Through his firm, Marler Clark, Marler has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness from all over the country. He is a highly sought after public speaker—by both corporate and public entities—lending his expertise on topics related to food safety.

Through his blog, Marlerblog.com, he writes about the latest news and information about foodborne outbreaks and food safety. Marler is also the founder and publisher of Food Safety News, which covers the stories intersecting food, health, and safety.

ABOUT Best Lawyers in America

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the legal profession. For over three decades, their lists of outstanding attorneys have been compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

ABOUT Bill Marler

An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world .  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death.

He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic 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, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.

For the last 25 years, he has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States.  He has filed lawsuits against such companies as Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Cargill, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, McDonald’s, Odwalla, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, securing over $600,000,000 for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, and other foodborne illnesses.

Among the most notable cases he has litigated, Bill counts those of nineteen-year-old dancer Stephanie Smith, who was sickened by an E. coli-contaminated hamburger that left her brain damaged and paralyzed, and Linda Rivera, a fifty-seven-year-old mother of six from Nevada, who was hospitalized for over 2 years after she was stricken with what her doctor described as “the most severe multi-organ [bowel, kidney, brain, lung, gall bladder, and pancreas] case of E. coli mediated HUS I have seen in my extensive experience.”

New York Times reporter Michael Moss won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Smith’s case, which was settled by Cargill in 2010 for an amount “to care for her throughout her life.” Linda’s story hit the front page of the Washington Post and became Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s touchstone for successfully moving forward the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2010.

Bill Marler’s advocacy for a safer food supply includes petitioning the United States Department of Agriculture to better regulate pathogenic E. coli, working with nonprofit food safety and foodborne illness victims’ organizations, and helping spur the passage of the 2010-2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  His work has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.

At little or no cost to event organizers, Bill travels widely and frequently to speak to food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about the litigation of claims resulting from outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria and viruses and the issues surrounding it.  He gives frequent donations to industry groups for the promotion of improved food safety, and has established numerous collegiate science scholarships across the nation.

He is a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness.  Bill’s articles include “Separating the Chaff from the Wheat: How to Determine the Strength of a Foodborne Illness Claim”, “Food Claims and Litigation”, “How to Keep Your Focus on Food Safety”, and “How to Document a Food Poisoning Case” (co-authored with David Babcock.)  He is the publisher of the online news site, Food Safety News and his award winning blog, www.marlerblog.com is avidly read by the food safety and legal communities. He is frequent media guest on food safety issues and has been profiled in numerous publications.

In 2010 Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education and in 2008 earned the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association.  He has also received the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.

Bill graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 1987, and in 1998 was the Law School’s “Lawyer in Residence.”  In 2011 he was given Seattle University’s Professional Achievement Award.  He is a former board member of the Washington State Trial Lawyers, a member of the board of directors of Bainbridge Youth Services, former President of the Governor-appointed Board of Regents at Washington State University.

Bill is married to Julie Marler and has three daughters, Morgan, Olivia, and Sydney.

EDUCATION

1987 –  J.D. Seattle University School of Law

1982 –  B.A.s Political Science, Economics, English, Washington State University

AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS

2013 – Seattle University Distinguished Law Graduate Award

2011- Seattle University Professional Achievement Award

2011 to Present – ABA Journal “Blawg 100” Best Legal Blogs

2010 – NSF Food Safety Leadership Award: Innovation in Education

2009 to Present –  Best Lawyers in America

2002 to Present –  Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys

2008 –  Public Justice Award, Washington State Trial Lawyer’s Association

2008 – Outstanding Lawyer Award, Seattle/King County Bar Association

1998 to Present – “Super Lawyer”, Washington State Attorneys

1998 – 2004 Governor Appointee, Washington State University Board of Regents Chairman

1997 –  Distinguished Achievement Award, WSU College of Liberal Arts

PUBLICATIONS

2011 – Separating the Chaff From the Wheat: The Reality of Proving a Foodborne Illness Case. White Paper June.

2010 – Laywers, Microbiologists, and Safe Food
Microbiologist Magazine, Vol 11, No 2, June

2009 – Legal Issues for Food Safety:  What Every Food Professional Should Know
Food Safety and Quality Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3 September

2009 – Serving Up Trouble
American Association of Justice Trial Magazine, Vol 45, No 2 February
2007 –  Food Safety and the CEO:(PDF) Keys to Bottom Line Success
Food Safety Magazine, October/November.

2005 –  Food Claims and Litigation (PDF)
Food Safety In-sight Newsletter by Environ Health Associates, Inc., February

2005 –  Separating the Chaff from the Wheat: How to Determine the Strength of a Foodborne Illness Claim (PDF)
Paper presented at Defense Research Institute meeting on Food Liability

2005 –  How to Keep Your Focus on Food Safety
Food Safety Magazine, June-July.

2004 –  How to Document a Food Poisoning Case
(co-authored with David Babcock) Trial Magazine, November

PROFILES

Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat, By Jeff Benedict

2016 – How one Attorney Is Trying to Make Food Safer, Civil Beat News, by Rui Kaneya August 22, 2016

2016 – This genius lawyer is our best hope against deadly food poisoning, by Kiera Butler Mother Jones May 20, 2016

2015 – Profile in Obsession: Bill Marler, By Naomi Tomky March 24, 2015

2015 – The New Yorker – A Bug in the System
The New Yorker, Wil S. Hylton, February 2, 2015.

2014 – Q&A: Food Safety Lawyer Bill Marler on What Not to Eat
The National Law Journal, Interview with Jenna Greene, November 3, 2014.

2012 – Bill Marler, Attorney, Blogger, and Food Safety Advocate, Talks Turkey (Or Spinach, Rather)
Miami New Times, Interview with Ily Goyanes, November 2.

2012 – Bill Marler Interview, Part Two: His Most Difficult Cases and Lobbying Congress
Miami New Times, Interview with Ily Goyanes, November 14.

2012 – Profiles in Public Health Law: Interview with William “Bill” Marler CDC Public Health Law News, July.

2012 – Food Safety Lawyer Bill Marler On Sprouts, Raw Milk, and Why “Local” Isn’t Always Safer Blisstree.com, Hanna Brooks Olsen, March 5.

2011 – Listeria outbreak draws Seattle lawyer to battle
Associated Press, Shannon Dininny, October 9.

2011 – Food-Borne Illness Attorney: Top Foods to Avoid
ABC News, Neal Karlinsky, September 29.

2011 – How to Keep Food Free of Salmonella: Lawsuits
The Atlantic, Barry Estabrook, August 31.

2011 – More Stomach-Churning Facts about the E. Coli Outbreak
New York Times, Mark Bittman, June 8.

2011 – Bill Marler: A Personal Injury Attorney and More
The Xemplar, Nicole Black, June 1.

2011 – Good Food Hero: Bill Marler, Food Safety Attorney
Good Food World, Gail Nickel-Kailing, May 23.

2011- Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat.
Inspire Books, Jeff Benedict, May 15

2011 – New Book Chronicles Islander Marler’s Work.
Bainbride Island Review, Connie Mears, May 13.

2010 – Food Safety Lawyer Puts His Money Where Your Mouth Is
AOL News, Andrew Schneider, September 29

2009 – Food Safety Lawyer’s Wish: Put Me Out of Business
Seattle Times, Maureen O’Hagan, November 23

2009 – WSU Discourse on Food Safety, Courtesy Seattle Lawyer
Kitsap Sun, Tristan Baurick,  August 29

2009 – When Food Sickens, He Heads for Courthouse
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Matt McKinney, June 24

2009 –  Bill Marler, The Food-Safety Litigator
Culinate, Miriam Wolf, April

2009 – Food Fight:Bill Marler’s Beef (PDF)
Washington Law & Politics, David Volk, May

2009 – Candidate for Top FSIS Job talks E. coli Testing, Irradiation, Education
The Meating Place, Ann Bagel Storck, February 6

2009 – Five Minutes with Bill Marler, Well Known Lawyer, Food Safety Activist
CattleNetwork, Chuck Jolley, February 5

2009 – Heath Surveillance the Key to Fresh Produce
The Packer, Tom Karst, February 3

2008 – Seattle Food Contamination Expert in China as Tainted Milk Sickens Thousands of Kids
Seattle Health Examiner, September 23

2008 –  E. Coli Lawyer Is Busier Than Ever
Associated Press, February 4

2007 –  Legally Speaking: The Food Poisoning Lawyer
The Southeast Texas Record, John G. Browning, November 20

2007 –  The Nation’s Leading Food-borne Illness Attorney Tells All
Washington State Magazine, Hannelore Sudermann, August

2007 –  Back to Court: Burst of E. coli Cases Returns Jack in the Box Litigator to the Scene
Meat and Poultry News, Steve Bjerklie, June 8

2007 – Food Fight
Portland Oregonian, Alex Pulaski, March

2007 –  Mr. Food Illness Esquire
QSR Magazine, Fred Minnick, February

2006 –  Seattle Attorney Dominates Food-Borne Illness Litigation
KPLU, October 20

2006 –  How a Tiny Law Firm Made Hay Out of Tainted Spinach
The Wall Street Journal, Heather Won Tesoriero and Peter Lattman, September 27

2005 – Bill Marler – Education Holds Key in Tainted Food Fight
King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin, Ross Anderson, November

2001 –  THE INSIDE STORY: How 11 Schoolkids Got $4.75 Million in E. coli Lawsuit
MeatingPlace.com, Bryan Salvage, March 7

2001 –  Hammer Time: Preparation Pays When Disputes Escalate to Lawsuits
Meat & Poultry Magazine, David Hendee

2001 –  For Seattle Attorney, A Bacterium Brings Riches—and Enemies
The Wall Street Journal, Rachel Zimmerman

2001 –  The Bug That Ate The Burger
Los Angeles Times, Emily Green, June

1999 –  Courting Publicity, Attorney Makes Safe Food His Business
Seattle Post, Maggie Leung, September 7

At least eight people are sick with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli after spending time at the Mesa County Fair, which ran from July 25-29 in Grand Junction.

Mesa County Public Health officials have been working with representatives from the fair and those who became sick to find the source of the illness.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli is common in cattle, sheep and goats. It can be contracted through direct contact with these animals or contact with things in close proximity to the animals that may have been cross contaminated.

Mesa County Public Health officials have also been in close communication with child-care providers and health-care providers to determine the magnitude of the outbreak, and to prevent further spread of the illness.

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 $600 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.

The Toledo Blade reports that Norovirus cases linked to food from Mama C’s Donuts in Maumee climbed in Lucas County to more than 300.  Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials said during a news conference that cases of the virus linked to food eaten at the restaurant has climbed to 300 while 19 people fell ill by coming in contact with those who ate there.

Officials began investigating this week after a spate of people developed the gastrointestinal illness. All had similar symptoms and had eaten food from the shop between Aug. 4 and Tuesday, health department officials said.

A spokesman for the Wood County Health District, said officials think a dozen norovirus cases there are connected to Mama C’s products provided to businesses in Wood County. The doughnuts were sold in two Wood County locations — Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green and a Marathon gas station at 25570 N. Dixie Highway, Perrysburg.

The Ohio Department of Health is providing the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department with assistance as needed, state health department spokesman said, including testing submitted samples.

Last year in Ohio, there were 76 norovirus outbreaks which sickened at least 3,031 people, according to the state health department.

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, and body aches.

Food safety attorney Bill Marler advocates for stricter regulations on imports coming into U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that, as of August 9, 141 people have been infected with strains of Salmonella traced back to papayas imported from Mexico.

Nineteen states have confirmed cases, including Connecticut (5), Delaware (4), Iowa (2), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (6), Michigan (1), Minnesota (4), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (27), New York (39), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (4), Pennsylvania (8), Texas (7), Virginia (14), and Wisconsin (1). Victims range in age from 1 year to 95 with a median age of 39. One death—a victim from New York—has been attributed to this outbreak.

Despite the heavy toll already caused by this outbreak, it’s possible new cases may come to light. Based on the information collected to date, the CDC is recommending consumers not eat Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico. When in doubt about the origins of a papaya, the CDC is cautioning consumers and restaurants to throw it out.

According to Bill Marler, food safety advocate and attorney, this latest outbreak is just the latest in what is proving to be an increasingly disturbing trend. In an Op-Ed for The Hill, Marler writes how the U.S. relys on imports for “some of our most nutritionally important but more risky commodities” and how imported foods are making up a bigger and bigger part of the average American’s diet. In 2014, the U.S. imported nearly $50 billion in food from just four countries—Mexico, Canada, China, and India. This practice has come at a price—recent largescale foodborne illnesses have been traced back to scallops, strawberries, and other whole foods imported into the U.S.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)—a bi-partisan piece of legislation passed during the Obama administration—was supposed to increase scrutiny of imported foods, but, unfortunately, Congress has not adequately funded this portion of the program. And the problem isn’t going to go away: President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget actually cuts $83 million from the FDA’s food safety programs. Illnesses tied to foodborne illness in the U.S. cost an estimated $55 billion a year.

“As a lawyer who has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illnesses over the last 25 years, I have seen the devastation that can be caused by pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. I have been to funerals and watched children struggle in ICUs,” writes Marler.

“Spending money on food safety is smart, and spending money making sure that the imported foods we consume are not tainted with a pathogen that can kill your child or ruin our farmers is even smarter.”

ABOUT BILL MARLER

Bill Marler is an accomplished food safety advocate and attorney. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he successfully represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Over the years, Bill and his firm, Marler Clark, have become the leaders in representing victims of foodborne illness, and have gone against companies that include Odwalla, Chili’s, ConAgra, Dole, KFC, Sizzler, Golden Corral and Wendy’s.

Bill spends much of his time traveling to address food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about foodborne illness, related litigation, and surrounding issues. He has testified before Congress as well as State Legislatures. He is a frequent author of articles related to foodborne illness in food safety journals and magazines as well as on his personal blog, www.marlerblog.com. Bill also recently founded Food Safety News (www.foodsafetynews.com) as a one-stop resource for global food safety news and information.

  • CDC, several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are reopening the investigation of a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
  • Ten more people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported since March 20, 2017, when CDC closed the outbreak investigation.
    • Whole genome sequencing on clinical samples from ill people showed a close genetic relationship between the bacteria that sickened people after March 20, 2017, and the bacteria that sickened people before that time. This means that people in both groups were more likely to share a common source of infection and that this outbreak is ongoing.
  • A total of 46 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 14 states.
    • 14 (30%) people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 27, 2015 to July 11, 2017.
    • 15 (33%) people in this outbreak are children under the age of 5.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations linked ill people in this outbreak to contact with calves, including dairy bull calves. Dairy bull calves are young, male cattle that may be raised for meat.

The investigation of the E. coli outbreak in the Hildale/Colorado City area is drawing to a close. It has been determined that the likely source of the disease was infected animals, followed by person-to-person contact. Several livestock tested positive for the E. coli strain involved in this outbreak. Their owners have been contacted and given guidance to prevent further spread. Tests on water systems, springs, ground beef, produce, and dairy products were negative.There have been no new confirmed cases linked to this outbreak since July 9th, although public health agencies will continue to monitor disease activity in the community.

Disease outbreaks are unpredictable and can occur in any community. This effort has involved the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Mohave County Department of Public Health, Utah Department of Health, Arizona Department of Health Services, and the CDC. Hundreds of samples were tested and many people were interviewed.

We appreciate the cooperation of the people of Hildale, Colorado City, and Centennial Park with the investigation and their efforts to protect against future outbreaks.

As a reminder, E. coli are common bacteria which can be spread to people when tiny pieces of feces enter the mouth through unwashed hands; contaminated soil, water, and food. Undercooked ground beef and unpasteurized dairy products are especially high risk. Infected animals and manure are also sources of infection. Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some strains are harmful to humans, such as the strain found in this outbreak (E. coli O157:H7).

Health officials continue to encourage following the practices listed below to help prevent infection from E. coli and other diseases:
• Keep sick animals separated from people and consider consulting a veterinarian
• Wash your hands with warm, soapy water
• After contact with animals or exposure to animal feces
• Before and after preparing or eating food
• After using the bathroom and changing diapers
• Before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth
• Wash produce thoroughly
• Keep raw food separate from cooked food
• Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat
• Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees (use a meat thermometer)

The FDA, CDC, MDH and other state and local officials are investigating Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson illnesses linked to Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico distributed by Grande Produce in San Juan, TX.

FDA and state partners continue to investigate the distribution of the papayas involved in this outbreak. It appears the distribution pattern of Caribeña brand Maradol papayas does not explain all of the illnesses, meaning other firms likely have distributed contaminated Maradol papayas as well. At this time, the farm(s) producing these papayas appear to only be in Mexico.

CDC reports 47 cases, 12 hospitalizations and one death from 12 states in the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak. The states involved are IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT and VA. CDC is working to collect additional information to determine whether the recent Salmonella Thompson illness in Maryland is part of this multistate outbreak.

On June 26, 2017, the CDC notified the FDA about a Salmonella Kiambu cluster detected by PulseNet. All 47 cases have the same pattern by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis was conducted on ten patient samples in the outbreak cluster and all were highly related. This indicates that the patients were likely sickened by the same type of food.

MDH informed the FDA, CDC and state partners that several ill people shopped at the same Baltimore retail location and purchased papayas. Records and samples of green and yellow papaya were collected. On July 17, 2017, Maryland reported that three of ten samples had preliminarily tested positive for Salmonella. All positive samples were Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico; none of the green papayas were positive. However, as noted above, Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand papayas regardless of the color.

On July 19, 2017, MDH issued an advisory warning consumers not to eat Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas. Further WGS testing linked one of the papaya samples to the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak and another to Salmonella Thompson.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.