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May and June have been Salmonella Months in Wisconsin, Idaho and North Carolina

Salmonella-Outbreak-300x210In the last two months nearly 600 people have suffered Salmonella infections linked to restaurants in Wisconsin, Idaho and North Carolina. Illnesses have spread to at least a dozen states.

Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak

The Kenosha County Division of Health reports that as of Wednesday, June 3rd, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in 35 patients. Divisions of Health official’s say over 75 sick people have been identified during an investigation into Supermercado Los Corrales. Salmonella has been confirmed in a total of 35 patients.

Based on interviews that have been conducted and laboratory testing, the source of the Salmonella outbreak has been determined to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th through 10th).

Laboratory testing conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection isolated Salmonella from leftover carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales on Sunday, May 10th. Further testing performed at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed the Salmonella had the same DNA fingerprint as the patient isolates.

Boise Co-op Salmonella Outbreak

The Central District Health Department (CDHD) estimates that Salmonella has sickened over 280 people after consuming contaminated food manufactured and sold by the Co-op. Most illnesses have occurred in June 2015.

The CDHD is currently continuing to investigate the outbreak. DHD has indicated that reports of Salmonella illness have come in from outside of Idaho as well, because the Co-op sells its deli products at Boise Airport terminal kiosks.

On or about June 15, 2015, CDHD reported that lab tests conducted on several food samples from the deli at Defendant’s establishment have tested positive for Salmonella. Contaminated foods included tomatoes, onions, and raw turkey. The Co-op closed its deli, and has warned consumers to discard any foods purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015.

Tarheel Q Salmonella Outbreak

The North Carolina Division of Public Health reports that at least 197 people have been sickened from 14 North Carolina counties and 6 states in an outbreak of Salmonella that officials link to the Lexington Tarheel Q barbecue restaurant. Of these 197 cases, 54% are male, 43% are between the ages of 20 and 49, 20% have visited their medical provider, 11% have visited the emergency room and 7% have been hospitalized. Eighty-two percent of cases had illness onset dates between Tuesday, June 16, 2015, and Sunday, June 21, 2015.

All 197 people ate at Tarheel Q on West US Highway 64 in Lexington, in the days before falling ill, officials said. Eighty-nine percent of the people affected are from Davidson and Davie County.

Laboratory testing indicates that the BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who became ill during the beginning of the outbreak are both positive for Salmonella species. The serogroup was found to be Typhimurium. Both samples have the same PFGE pattern (i.e. DNA fingerprint). Over 20 additional clinical specimens are pending results at the state lab.

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.

Over 280 with Salmonella Linked to Boise Co-op Deli

Boise-Co-opThe Central District Health Department (CDHD) continues to investigate a Salmonella outbreak associated with the Boise Co-op deli – specifically food purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015 – this includes food purchased at the Boise airport.

As of June 24, 2015, approximately 280 cases of Salmonella are associated with this outbreak – including individuals from several states.

Preliminary test results showed Salmonella growth in raw turkey, tomatoes and onion. However, additional laboratory tests are pending.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common in the United States.

Salmonella: 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.

100 with Salmonella in Davidson and Davie County from Tarheel Restaurant

558b154b1a3d8.imageAccording to local press reports, an additional 40 people have been identified with symptoms consistent with salmonellosis — this time in Davie County, North Carolina.  There also appear to be dozens more.

The Davidson County and Davie County health departments began this week began working with the North Carolina Division of Public Health to investigate a gastrointestinal illness outbreak among patrons of Tarheel Q, located at 6835 West U.S. 64 in Lexington. As of Tuesday, the health departments had identified more than 30 individuals in Davidson County with signs and symptoms consistent with salmonellosis.

On Wednesday, the investigation expanded to include 40 additional people in Davie County.

Health officials said all people with symptoms ate at Tarheel Q, located at 6835 West U.S. 64 in Lexington, several days before becoming ill.

At least seven of the individuals had to be hospitalized due to their illness.

A sign posted on the door Wednesday said the restaurant would close until Monday, June 29, “to ensure all areas of our operation are of the highest standard.”

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.

Eurofresh: Marler – Why companies need a food safety culture

Marler1Food poisoning outbreaks traced to fresh produce have become more prominent, according to Bill Marler, a US lawyer who specializes in food safety.

Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to cantaloupe and celery, and E. coli outbreaks linked to lettuce and bagged spinach, are among various handled in recent years by Seattle law firm Marler Clark – a foodborne illness litigation specialist – where he is based.

But Marler, known in America as a food safety advocate, said it is not necessarily that more cases are occurring, but that they have become more noticeable.

It’s now easier to trace culprits

Marler’s focus on food safety stems back to the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak more than two decades ago, which involved undercooked beef patties in hamburgers. He said the case prompted improvements in outbreak tracing and, in particular, more widespread use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) – like DNA fingerprinting – which has made it easier to identify outbreaks linked to fruit and vegetables.

Simultaneously, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has increased in the US, as people aim to eat more healthily. With more people eating products such as lettuce, sprouts and baby spinach leaves – which are usually not cooked and therefore don’t go through a “kill step” before being eaten – the likelihood of more people getting sick has also increased, he said.

Tragic cases triggered changes

Among high-profile fresh produce cases in the US in the last decade was the 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to shredded lettuce in Taco Bell restaurants, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sickened at least 71 people, 8 of whom developed kidney failure.

Marler said such cases were the impetus for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which passed into law in early 2011. “It would not have come about in the US but for these outbreaks linked to spinach and lettuce and other fruit and veg,” he said.

Similarly, farmers in California, where much of America’s lettuce and spinach is grown, created a food safety program – the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) – in the wake of an E. coli outbreak in 2006 that was associated with Californian spinach and saw 202 people become ill and 3 die.

Marler speaks at conferences around the world and said the number of outbreaks he hears about is not as high as in the early 2000s, “so that is a positive thing.” But he still sees cases linked to fruit and vegetable contamination, such as a Hepatitis A outbreak in 2013 linked to pomegranate seeds (arils) from Turkey in a blend of frozen berries.

Most outbreaks preventable

Marler said companies – especially branded companies – need to have a culture of food safety, to invest in it and make it as important as cutting costs and making a profit.

“One of the things we see many times is people talk about food safety and farm to fork safety but company focus tends to be more on sales and profit, which is understandable, and cutting costs.” However, after an outbreak they regret not having invested more in food safety and the personnel necessary for it, he said.

“In my view, if companies make food safety an afterthought and don’t invest in people to help run it and invest in processes to eliminate risk, and then don’t pay attention to details, they will eventually make a huge mistake.”

“i think really many of these outbreaks are preventable, or at least you can make them less severe and less of a major burden on the consumer and on the industry.”

Learning from past outbreaks

Marler said a common problem is the lack of attention paid to warning signs and another is that companies often don’t learn from other companies’ disasters, instead repeating the same mistakes, with tragic outcomes. “They think ‘it won’t happen to me.’ ”

He believes this was the case with the 2011 Listeria outbreak linked to whole cantaloupes from Colorado’s Jensen Farms. “So many people in the industry couldn’t have known, but every year there’s been a Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe,” he said.

The Listeria case was America’s most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in a generation, with the CDC receiving reports of 33 deaths and a miscarriage.

Direct reporting to CEO

In the US, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act requires CEOs and CFOs to certify the financial reports their companies file are accurate and complete. Marler said CEOs should similarly have to sign off on the adequacy of their food safety, a measure that would ensure it is on par with making money and cutting costs.

He stressed the importance of a direct relationship between the CEO and person responsible for food safety in a company, so they communicate any concerns directly to the CEO. Though critical, this is often lacking, he said.

Why leafy greens are vulnerable

Because they are grown on the ground, leafy greens are at more risk of contamination via animal intrusion or irrigation water and, furthermore, are often eaten with no ‘kill step’ between the harm and the consumer.

“Where produce is grown is critical, keeping animals out of the fields, paying attention to how it is manufactured and packaged, keeping the cold chain correct, all that comes into play. You can look at each outbreak and say there was a mistake made,” Marler said.

Originally published at Eurofresh.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Boise Co-op Hits 200

635700770319677840-boise-co-op-kitchenThe Central District Health Department (CDHD) is investigating a salmonella outbreak associated with the Boise Co-op deli – specifically food purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015.

As of June 17, 2015, 200 cases of Salmonella are associated with this outbreak. Preliminary test results showed Salmonella growth in raw turkey, tomatoes and onion. However, additional laboratory tests are pending.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common in the United States.

  • Report Foodborne Illness Here
  • Or call the salmonella information line at 321-2222 with questions or to file a report

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.

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Idaho Woman Sickened By Salmonella Tainted Food from Boise Co-Op Restaurant

Plaintiff is one of 60 confirmed illnesses in outbreak tied to food prepared and sold by the Co-op deli – 40 more under investigation.

Ada County residents Randy and Judy Fisher have filed a lawsuit against Boise Consumer Cooperative, Inc., d/b/a Boise Co-op over a severe case of salmonella poisoning Judy suffered after eating at the Co-op’s deli. The Fishers are represented by Robie G. Russell of Russell Law Offices, and William D. Marler of Marler Clark Food Safety Law Firm, LLP. The case code is CV0C1510144.

On June 5, 2015, in the late morning, Randy Fisher purchased a tuna sandwich at the Boise Co-op deli. His wife, Judy, consumed the sandwich at around noon. The very next morning, Judy began to feel unwell while shopping with her husband. She returned home and went to bed, hoping that some rest would help.

Judy awoke at 2 p.m. with extreme chills and intense nausea. She soon began vomiting. The chills were so bad that she put on a coat and wrapped herself in a blanket for around half an hour to get her temperature to a comfortable level. This was on quite a hot day when the outdoor temperature reached 83 degrees.

Soon, the diarrhea set in, and Judy suffered for two days straight. Together with the vomiting and other symptoms, Judy quickly became dehydrated.

Judy finally went to the ER at St. Luke’s Hospital on Wednesday, June 10, where she received intravenous fluids for rehydration. She was sent home with a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug, and was told to take over-the-counter Imodium AD for the diarrhea.

Judy’s symptoms continued and she paid another visit to the ER on Friday morning. This time she was able to give a stool sample. The hospital once again sent her home with more prescriptions; this time for antibiotics to treat what physicians believed was a severe bacterial infection.

On Saturday, Judy received a call from staff at St. Luke’s and was told that the stool sample she had provided had tested positive for Salmonella. Judy was also interviewed by Idaho Central District Health Department (CDHD) officials. During that conversation, she told them that she had eaten a tuna sandwich from the Boise Co-op on Friday, June 5, 2015.

On June 15, Boise Co-op posted this message on their Facebook page: “We are voluntarily closing our Deli due to the salmonella outbreak investigation currently underway with the Central District Health Department (CDHD). These cases have now been confirmed as linked to food prepared in our Deli. As an added precaution, any foods purchased from our Deli after June 1, 2015 should be discarded.”

“This Co-op is known for its organic foods, including antibiotic and hormone-free meats and eggs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them immune to food safety issues,” said Bill Marler, co-founder and partner with Marler Clark. “I do applaud them for taking a proactive approach and shutting down their deli and encouraging customers to throw away purchased products before anyone else can get sick.”

Marler has been an advocate for victims of food borne illnesses since representing those made sickest by an outbreak of e. coli O157:H7 traced back to fast food giant Jack in the Box. He has represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and is seen as an expert on food safety.

Salmonella is the second most common foodborne illness in the United States. Approximately 1.4 million cases of Salmonella occur each year with 95% of those caused by tainted food. The acute symptoms of Salmonella include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea and mucous over a period of days. While there is no cure, infected persons usually recover completely, although it may take months. A small number of people experience ongoing symptoms such as joint pain, which can lead to chronic arthritis.

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.

UPDATE: Unnamed Boise Restaurant Link in Salmonella Outbreak

unnamed-one-10-stable-300x240Its the Co-op.

KTVB reports that Idaho Central District Health Department officials are investigating a number of confirmed Salmonella cases that may be related.

There have been about 30 cases that have tested positive, CDHD said.

The investigation is narrowing in on one “unnamed food establishment” in Boise. The health department is working with that business and going over proper procedure and protocol.

CDHD says it appears the time frame of exposure was between June 3 and June 7.

Would “proper procedure and protocol” be not poisoning customers?

And, why is the food establishment “unnamed?”

Salmonella: 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.

Pork Carnitas in Kenosha Test Positive for Salmonella – Third Lawsuit Filed

cfyzv-wweaaofb8According to news reports, Pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales in Kenosha, Wisconsin during Mother’s Day weekend have officially been identified as the source of the Salmonella outbreak that sickened as many as 70 people, officials with the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and local health officials from Kenosha County, announced Wednesday, June 10th.

A total of seven people had to be hospitalized.

Health officials say interviews with the individuals who became ill revealed that most had consumed pork carnitas purchased from Supermercado Los Corrales Mother’s Day weekend.

Lab tests conducted by DATCP and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) confirmed that Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint was in samples of the product and in samples from those individuals who became ill.

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.

South Carolina Daycare Link in E. coli Outbreak

Baby-CareThe South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has reported that laboratory testing confirmed seven cases of E. coli associated with the Learning Vine daycare facility in Greenwood.

An investigation began after 2-year-old Myles Mayfield, a boy who attended The Learning Vine daycare in Greenwood, developed an E. coli infection. Mayfield died from complications after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Two of the seven children with confirmed E. coli cases are hospitalized, DHEC said.

DHEC issued a public health consent agreement with The Learning Vine, and the facility has voluntarily closed. In the news release, DHEC said it had taken the following steps to identify the source of the infection and stop its spread:

  • Completed an initial onsite inspection of the daycare facility and provided cleaning guidance
  • Conducted over 50 interviews to identify and notify individuals at possible risk for exposure
  • Collected and tested samples for laboratory analysis
  • Established a hotline and held a forum to provide assistance to those affected
  • Confirmed the daycare facility had completed the required cleaning by conducting a follow-up inspection with the S.C. Department of Social Services
  • Issued a public health consent agreement with the daycare facility in order to limit the possibility of further spread of the infection

Sounds far too familiar.

In August of 2000, the Kindercare facility located on Lexington Drive in Folsom, California, was traced as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Health department officials who investigated the outbreak determined that the probable “index case” – a child who unknowingly brought the bacteria into the facility – experienced “explosive diarrhea at the daycare on the afternoon of 8-3-00.” Shortly thereafter, four other children became infected with E. coli O157:H7 on successive days, the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of August, 2000. All of the children were in the same day care group. In addition to the illnesses of the children, the mother of one child, and another child’s sibling became ill and tested positive for E. coli. Another toddler also became ill.

According to the Facility Evaluation Report by the Department of Social Services dated November 7, 2000, “[t]he cause of the [E. coli O157:H7] outbreak [at the Lexington Drive Kindercare] was due to a sponge being used simultaneously for wiping down a changing table and wiping down a table used for serving meals.”

In June of 2002, the Disease Control Section of the Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPHD) in Fort Worth, Texas, was notified that a 2-year old child had been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection. In the following days, TCPHD received several additional reports of E. coli O157:H7 illness, including five culture-positive cases. During its investigation into the outbreak, TCPHD learned that all of the victims were associated with the CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare in Fort Worth, Texas; 12 children who attended the daycare, one daycare staff member, and one parent of a daycare attendee had all fallen ill with E. coli infections.  TCPDH’s inspection of the daycare revealed “several breaches in food preparation and procedures at the daycare facility.”  In its investigation report, TCPDH noted:

  • The daycare had not obtained a city permit to prepare and serve food, but was providing food for the children attending the daycare.
  • Appropriate sources of drinking water were not available in the building housing the smaller children; water jugs were filled using the bathroom sink.
  • A swimming pool at the facility was in use with murky water prior to chlorination and the daycare had not obtained a city permit.

Perhaps the most important finding during TCPHD’s investigation was that staff, parents and children reported frequently eating portable lunches on the daycare grounds by a pond.  The pond collected run-off from a pasture that held grazing cattle.  TCPDH reported that several samples of pond water confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7.

On May 10, 2004, the Jasper County Health Department (JCHD) received a report from St. Johns Regional Medical Center that two 2-year-old children had been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.  The children, one boy and one girl, were residents of Carthage Missouri.  Five of the girl’s family members soon developed symptoms of E. coli infection, and one later tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. JCHD began investigating the apparent E. coli outbreak, and learned that the hospitalized girl and one of her siblings attended daycare at Kid’s Korner daycare in Joplin, Missouri. JCHD investigators visited the daycare facility on May 11.  They did not note any major hand washing or diapering violations, and discussed the importance of excluding children with diarrheal illness from the daycare with daycare operators and employees.

On May 24, JCHD was notified that a 4-year-old girl who attended daycare at Kid’s Korner had become ill with symptoms of E. coli infection on May 14 and was being transferred from a Joplin hospital to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City with HUS.  JCHD inspectors returned to Kid’s Korner on May 25, and instructed the daycare to distribute a letter explaining the incidence of E. coli at the daycare and the signs and symptoms of illness to parents.  During this inspection, JCHD investigators noted deficiencies conducive to the spread of disease and instructed Kid’s Korner employees on methods of hygiene and sanitation effective to prevent the further spread of E. coli.

By May 26, JCHD had received two additional reports of illness in children who attended Kid’s Korner.  One of the children had had bloody diarrhea on May 11; the child’s sibling fell ill on May 26 and was later hospitalized with HUS.  Despite their earlier assurances that no children at the daycare had been symptomatic during the month of May, Kid’s Korner then produced a list of nine children who had exhibited symptoms of E. coli infection to JCHD investigators.

On May 27, JCHD inspectors returned to the daycare center and noted handwashing lapses.  They also learned that Kid’s Korner had failed to distribute the May 25 letter regarding possible E. coli exposure and symptoms to 32 percent of the families with children in attendance at Kid’s Korner.

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.

Raw Milk is a Risky Elixir

There seems to be no middle ground in the debate over raw milk. On the one side, you have farmers happy to sell a product for $10 to $18 a gallon, and consumers who believe that they are purchasing a product that is not only more healthful but will also cure everything from allergies to autism. On the other side, you have public health officials defending the time-tested benefits of pasteurization as a way to make milk safe to consume.  I posted some time ago the Legal History of Raw Milk.

But even though the argument appears to have two sides, the reality is as simple as it is undeniable: raw milk is seriously risky, and should be consumed, if at all, with extreme caution.  Children, the elderly or those with compromised immunity, should not consume raw milk – period!  If you are a healthy adult, go ahead and flip a coin, but do not feed it to your kids.

Over the last several years I have tried to bring some level of rationality to the debate over the consumption of raw milk. I first published on my blog a summary of the findings of a review of peer-reviewed literature on the topic of the “pros” of the consumption of raw milk. Most alleged benefits were anecdotal, with a reduction in allergies as the only scientific observation. I then posted about the “cons.” The overwhelming “con” of drinking raw milk, according to the scientific literature, relates to the serious risk of infection, and the injury, disability, and death that result.

In trying to base the debate over the pros and cons of raw milk more firmly on facts, and not anecdote and emotion, I have found that the most instructive thing that I can do is to remind debate-participants of “real world” effects that drinking raw milk can cause. For example:

Chris Martin, then age seven, developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection in September 2006 following consumption of raw milk. He was hospitalized beginning September, suffering from severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Shortly thereafter, he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). In an effort to properly treat his rapidly deteriorating condition, Chris was moved to multiple medical facilities, twice by life-flight. His HUS was remarkably severe, marked by prolonged renal failure, pancreatitis, and severe cardiac involvement. He required 18 days of renal replacement therapy. On two occasions his cardiac problems became so severe that he was placed on a ventilator. At several junctures, the possibility that he might not survive was very real. Ultimately he was hospitalized through November, after incurring over $550,000 in medical bills. Renal experts have opined that Chris is likely to develop severe renal complications in the future. These complications include end stage renal disease (ESRD) and kidney transplant.

Mari Tardiff was one of those sickened in the June 2008 outbreak of Campylobacter connected to raw milk. As a result of her Campylobacter infection, Mari developed Guillain Barré syndrome, or GBS, a potentially fatal inflammatory disorder. By the time she was hospitalized in mid June, Mari was essentially paralyzed. Mari was intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation. For weeks on end, Mari’s condition remained unchanged. She was heavily sedated, unable to move, and entirely dependent on mechanical ventilation for survival. In August, there were indications of slight improvement, and the very slow process of weaning Mari off mechanical ventilation began. At the outset, it was not clear that the process was successful. Through incredible effort on Mari’s part, she was fully weaned off mechanical ventilation by August, and discharged to a rehabilitation facility. She spent more than two months at the rehabilitation facility diligently attempting to re-acquire the ability to speak, breathe, and move her arms and legs on her own. She was discharged home in November, still in need of essentially 24-hour care. Since that time, she has worked every day toward achieving her goal, as yet unreached, of walking again. Medical expenses to date exceed $1,000,000.

Nicole Riggs developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection in May 2008 from consumption of raw goat’s milk. She was nine years old at the time. Nicole suffered from symptoms typical of E. coli O157:H7 infections – bloody diarrhea, cramping, and nausea – that quickly intensified and led to her hospitalization. Once hospitalized, Nicole developed renal failure, anemia, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) indicating that she was developing HUS. She was transferred to a Children’s hospital and started on dialysis in order to save her life. She received dialysis for 18 days. Nicole’s renal function slowly returned to the point that she was deemed healthy enough for discharge on June 1. After discharge, she remained under the care of a nephrologist. In addition, damage suffered during her HUS has required that her gall bladder be removed. Medical costs to this point exceed $180,000. As the result of damage to her kidneys suffered during her bout with HUS, Nicole is at significant risk for severe renal complications in the future.

I certainly understand the desire of a farmer to sell a highly profitable product, just as I can understand the desire of consumers to make up their own minds about drinking raw milk. But farmers and consumers need to be fully informed, and the risks need to be fully understood. Because of the debate and the risks, I helped fund the building of Real Raw Milk Facts as a place where the pro’s and con’s of raw milk production and consumptions can be discussed against the background of scientific facts.

Bottom line, be informed – See Parent’s Food Safety Guide for Raw Milk.