merlesfoodpoisoning.jpgTomorrow we will file suit on behalf of a Cook County Resident who was infected by Clostridium perfringens in an outbreak that the Evanston City Health Department linked to Merle’s Smokehouse

The Outbreak:

On Thursday, February 17, 2011 the City of Evanston Health Department was contacted by Evanston School District 65 regarding 30 individuals becoming ill after eating food catered by the defendant at a Parent/ Teacher Conference held on Wednesday February 16, 2011.

After being notified, the Evanston Health Department began an immediate investigation and was able to collect samples of the catered food, which were sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Laboratory in Springfield, Illinois for testing. Health inspectors also went to the defendant’s restaurant facility at 1727 Benson Avenue to collect food samples and perform a detailed inspection with regards to food handling, storage and transportation.  The health department sited poor food handling, storage, and temperature control practices as a cause of the outbreak

Results of testing by IDPH revealed Clostridium perfrigens as the causative agent in the people sickened on or about February 16, 2011 by food catered by the defendant.


Beatrice Jenkins works as a part-time employee at Haven Middle School in Evanston. She also volunteers regularly at the school.  On February 16, 2011, Merle’s catered a meal at the school, where it was consumed by teachers, volunteers, and other guests.

Ms. Jenkins and her daughter were among the volunteers and guests who consumed the food at Haven Middle School. Both became ill the morning of February 17, 2011, and ultimately had to be seen in the emergency department at Evanston Hospital.  Ms. Jenkins continues to suffer from symptoms related to her illness.