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Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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STARN O’TOOLE MARCUS & FISHER AND MARLER CLARK LAW FIRMS FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST GENKI SUSHI OVER HEPATITIS A EXPOSURE

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, a Honolulu law firm in partnership with leading food borne illness lawyer Bill Marler, has filed a class action lawsuit as a result of the Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii.  The suit names as defendants Genki Sushi, Koha Foods and Sea Port Products as the sources of the contaminated food.

The class of plaintiffs includes all persons who consumed food or drink at Genki Sushi restaurants from April through August 2016, and who for personal and public health and safety reasons obtained a Hepatitis A vaccination or an IG shot.  The complaint was filed on August 23, 2016 in the First Circuit Court, following the Hawaii Department of Health findings that the Hepatitis A infections were attributed to the consumption of contaminated scallops at certain Genki Sushi restaurants.  The scallops were imported to the United States from the Philippines by Sea Port Products and distributed to Genki Sushi by Koha Foods.

The lawsuit alleges that all food and drink sold at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai during the exposure period were unsafe as a result of the contaminated scallops and potentially exposed thousands of people to the virus.

“This is quickly becoming one of the largest Hepatitis A outbreaks in US history.  Not only are there over 200 illnesses in Hawaii, we are beginning to see cases on the mainland as well.  Given the number of people that consumed scallops at Genki Sushi and became ill and worked at other restaurants on the islands, we estimate that over 10,000 people needed to be vaccinated to prevent an even larger disaster,” says Bill Marler.

Trevor Brown commented: “As a premier tourist destination, we want Hawaii to have the highest standards in food safety so our guests feel secure.  We also want our local people to be taken care of.  This suit is a step toward that.”

For more information or to speak to one of the lawyers contact Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher at 808-537-6100 and ask for Judith Pavey or Trevor Brown.

About Starn OToole Marcus & Fisher: Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher is a full service law firm, with significant experience in class action and personal injury matters.  The firm also has extensive experience in complex litigation, real estate and business transactions.

About Marler Clark:  Marler Clark, located in Seattle Washington,  specializes in representing victims of foodborne illness and has represented thousands of plaintiffs throughout the country.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak Hits 17

tropical-smoothie-cafe_1471641149449_5578065_ver1.0Virginia health officials say they have confirmed 17 cases of hepatitis A are linked to frozen strawberries used by Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

The Virginia Department of Health says testing indicates frozen strawberries from Egypt used at the smoothie chain may be to blame for the illnesses.

The 17 hepatitis cases are from across Virginia: five in the eastern region (which includes Hampton Roads), four in the northern region, four in the northwestern region, and four in the central region.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe says it stopped using the strawberries from Egypt at all of its stores, including those outside Virginia, after learning about the potential issue. The smoothie chain says the cafes and their food handling practices “have not been implicated in any way.”

Health officials are encouraging anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant in the last 50 days to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. Those include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea.

Marler Clark Retained in Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

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, wo 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.

Marler Clark Retained in Sprouts Extraordinaire Salmonella Outbreak

big-map-8-4-16Thirty people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from nine states – Colorado 13, Kansas 8, Minnesota 1, Missouri 1, Nebraska 2, New York 1, Oregon 1, Texas 1 and Wyoming 2.

Of those ill people, 24 were infected with Salmonella Reading, 1 was infected with Salmonella Abony, and 5 were infected with both.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 21, 2016 to July 20, 2016. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female. Five ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence available at this time indicate that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado are the likely source of this outbreak. Ill people in the current outbreak reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts on sandwiches from several different restaurants.

Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from five restaurants where ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations.

On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled its alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination. These products were sold in 5-pound boxes labeled “Living Alfalfa Sprouts.” CDC recommends that restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve and consumers do not eat recalled alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Strawberry Smoothies Linked to Hepatitis A

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

Individuals can contact their local health department with any questions concerning this investigation. For more information, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

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, wo 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.

FDA Weighs in on Sea Port Products Scallops Hepatitis A Outbreak

Scallops went to Hawaii, California and Nevada – no reported illnesses in California and Nevada, 206 in Hawaii

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA and CDC are supporting the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in an investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, Hawaii Department of Health reportedthat 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A in that state.
  • On August 17, 2016, the FDA, Hawaii DOH, CDC and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.
  • Restaurants and other retailers should not sell or serve the recalled Bay Scallops. The recalled products were not sold directly to consumers. FDA advises consumers not to eat the recalled Bay Scallops. Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are supporting the State of Hawaii in an investigation of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

According to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A. Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 12, 2016 to August 9, 2016. All cases have been in adults and 51 have required hospitalization.

The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with Hawaii DOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.

On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA, CDC and state partners immediately informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The recalled products were not sold directly to consumers. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person (fecal-oral route).

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and in adults includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Who is at Risk?

Hepatitis A is a disease that originates in and is spread by people, rather than animals. It can occur  when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food (as is suspected in this outbreak) or water contaminated with HAV can cause outbreaks of disease.

In rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or who are immunocompromised, HAV infection can progress to liver failure and death.  People who have underlying liver conditions or pre-existing severe illness, or who are immunocompromised, should be vaccinated for HAV.

What Specific Products were Recalled?

On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The recalled products were not sold directly to consumers.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve the recalled products. These operations should also:

  • Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Water, shellfish, and salads are the most frequent foodborne sources of hepatitis A. You can avoid Hepatitis A transmission from seafood by thoroughly cooking it. Hepatitis A can be transmitted from person to person. Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures.  Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers to help protect themselves from hepatitis A, as well as other foodborne diseases.

Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA has provided information on selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely.  Some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised
  • Persons who have decreased stomach acidity

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.

Who Should be Contacted?

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw scallops.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

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, wo 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.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Case Jumps to 206

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is continuing to investigate a cluster of hepatitis A infections in the state.

On August 15, 2016, HDOH identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as a likely source of the ongoing outbreak. The product of concern is Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that originated in the Philippines (states “Product of the Philippines” on the box), distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods. As a result, HDOH ordered this product embargoed (not to be sold, purchased, or consumed) throughout the state, and the temporary closure of all Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The scallops received by True World Foods have not been distributed to any restaurants in the state, and were embargoed at their warehouse. The scallops served at Genki locations on the Big Island and Maui originated from a different supplier and have not been associated with the outbreak.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing.   It continues to be challenging because of the long incubation period of the disease (15 to 50 days) and the difficulty patients have in accurately recalling the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.

Healthcare providers have been informed and are asked to notify HDOH immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected.

HDOH encourages Hawaii residents to consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A, and advises that they talk to their healthcare provider about hepatitis A if they are interested. Vaccination for hepatitis A is strongly recommended for certain individuals who are especially at risk (see HERE for a CDC list of groups recommended to be vaccinated for hepatitis A).

Hawaii residents are also advised that the demand for the vaccine during the outbreak has led to varied supply levels around the state, so it is recommended that they call ahead to assure the vaccine is available at a particular clinic or pharmacy before going there.

As of August 17, 2016:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 38 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 51 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Nine (9) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A – 206

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/9/16.

Places of Interest

An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does notindicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Baskin-Robbins, Oahu, Waikele Center, June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016
Chili’s, Oahu, Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway), July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
Costco Bakery, Oahu, Hawaii Kai, June 16-20, 2016
Hawaiian Airlines, July 1-26, 2016
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Oahu, Honolulu (801 Kaheka Street), July 21-23, 26-30, and August 2-6, 9-11, 2016
Sushi Shiono, Hawaii, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive), July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016
Taco Bell, Oahu, Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street), June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016
Tamashiro Market, Oahu, Kalihi (802 N. King Street), July 2, 4, 6–8, 11–13, 15–19, and 23, 2016
Papa John’s Waipahu, Oahu, Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street), July 23-24, and Aug. 2, 2016
New Lin Fong bakery, Oahu, Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street), July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Oregon’s Washington County Fair Possible Link in E. coli Outbreak

Washington County Public Health is investigating several cases of diarrheal illness caused by Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) or “STEC” bacteria. A source has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing. One of the potential sources Public Health is looking into is contact with livestock at the Washington County Fair. Food items unrelated to the fair are also being investigated.

Anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has had (or develops) any of the following symptoms should call their health care provider.

Symptoms of STEC infection can vary but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and sometimes fever. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

“This type of infection is highly contagious even when symptoms are mild,” says Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christina Baumann. “To prevent the spread of disease, people with diarrhea should stay home while sick and avoid handling food or preparing food for others.”

A small number of infected individuals develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Young children are at the highest risk for this complication. Signs that a person is developing HUS include decreased urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. HUS, if it occurs, often develops after the earlier symptoms of diarrhea have improved.

“The best way to prevent getting STEC infection is by washing hands well with soap and water,” says Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christina Baumann. “It’s very important to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, before preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals or their environments at farms, petting zoos and fairs.”

STEC outbreaks at fairs are not uncommon. There are several county and state fairs still to come this season. Fairgoers should take the following precautions to keep themselves and their children healthy:

  • Do not put anything in your mouth in the animal areas, including food, beverage, pacifiers, toys or hands.
  • Leave any unnecessary items outside the animal areas.
  • Be aware that objects such as clothing, shoes and strollers can be contaminated with germs in the animal areas.
  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!
  • Be sure to supervise your children to make sure they are washing their hands well.

Lawsuit filed on behalf of 9-year-old boy against New Hampshire beef manufacturers over E. coli outbreak

Child hospitalized after becoming ill from tainted meat.

Sarah Monks, a York County, Maine resident, is suing PT Farm, a New Hampshire-based beef manufacturer, after an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak tied to the company made her nine-year-old son so ill that he required hospitalization. Monks and her son are represented by Peter Felmly, of Drummond Woodsum, Attorneys at Law in Portland, Maine, and food safety advocate William D. Marler, managing attorney at Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm, based in Seattle.

On June 13, 2016, Sarah Monks prepared PT Farm beef, purchased at Maine Meat in Kittery, Maine, for her nine-year old son.  Five days later, he began experiencing the vomiting, diarrhea, and fever that typify an E. coli O157:H7 infection. The child was hospitalized for multiple days at both the York area hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

Sarah Monks’ son is one of fourteen identified victims of this outbreak tied to PT Farm, with cases in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine ranging from June 15 to July 10, 2016. The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services tracked the outbreak back to a single slaughter date at PT Farm. On July 26, 2016, FSIS announced that PT Farm was recalling approximately 8800 pounds of potentially contaminated raw beef products.

“It is the responsibility of all food manufacturers to protect their customers against foodborne illness,” said Bill Marler, premier food safety attorney in the US and representative for the plaintiff. “This means 365 days a year. All of the illnesses in this outbreak can be traced back to a single slaughter day. This almost perfect record was enough to cause suffering for many, including children. Being almost perfect simply isn’t good enough when it comes to food safety.”

An estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure. Symptoms of E. coli include the sudden onset of abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed by watery, sometimes bloody, diarrhea. Vomiting can also occur, but there is usually no fever.

A severe, life-threatening complication of E. coli O157:H7 is Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Although most people recover from this infection, about 5-10% of infected individuals goes on to develop HUS. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. To learn more about HUS, please visit http://www.about-hus.com.

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, and has 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.

Lawsuit filed against Big G Food Store over Salmonella-tainted potato salad

A Marengo couple is suing for illness that sent husband and wife seeking emergency care

Tammi and Roger Steffen of Marengo, Iowa, are suing Big G after becoming sickened with Salmonella from potato salad produced by the defendant. The Steffens illnesses were so severe they both required emergency medical care. The couple has filed a lawsuit for damages caused by the illness, from which they are still in recovery. They are represented by Wandro & Associates, P.C., of Des Moines, Iowa, and Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm, based in Seattle.

On July 10, 2016, the Steffens purchased and refrigerated potato salad from Big G. Two days later, on July 12, they ate the salad for dinner. Just 24 hours later, both Tammi and Roger were suffering from the intense stomach and intestinal pain typical of Salmonella poisoning. On the 14th, both husband and wife were forced to leave work early due to their symptoms, and began suffering from chills, fever, agonizing cramps, and repeated bouts of diarrhea.

By Friday, a nurses’ hotline recommended they go to the ER, as their illness was intensifying. On Saturday morning at the ER, Roger passed out due to the severity of his symptoms. They received treatment and prescriptions, and went home after a few hours at the hospital.

Not until after they arrived at home, received a diagnosis of Salmonella infection, and continued to battle their symptoms, did they realize the culprit. In late July, the Iowa Departments of Public Health (IDPH) and Inspections and Appeals (IDIA) issued a consumer advisory for Big G’s potato salad, as it has been linked to various cases of Salmonella.  Big G issued a voluntary recall soon after. The Steffens continue to suffer from their symptoms, though recovery is ongoing.

“Though the company recalled the products, the damage was done for the Steffen family,” said Bill Marler of Marler Clark, LLC. “Food safety depends on companies taking proactive steps to protect their customers before people become ill. The goal shouldn’t be timely recalls, but to ensure they aren’t necessary at all.”

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.