Firm Recalls 546,000 pounds tied to E. coli Illnesses – Over 41,000,000 pounds recalled in last two years.

The first lawsuit stemming from the E. coli outbreak in Massachusetts and likely Rhode Island, will be filed Monday in the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Superior Court, against Crocetti-Oakdale Packing, doing business as South Shore Meats, Inc., which had recalled 1.039 pounds of E. coli tainted beef linked to illnesses.

The E. coli lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Marshfield, Massachusetts family, whose grandmother and children were infected with the pathogenic E. coli strain O157:H7 after eating ground beef purchased from the Star Market in Marshfield. The plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness.

In addition, on Saturday (10/31/09), Ashville NY firm Fairbank Farms recalled 546,000 pounds of beef products due to E. coli contamination. According to the USDA release, the meat has been linked to illnesses in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and distributed via retail outlets including Trader Joe’s, Price Chopper, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw’s, BJ’s, Ford Brothers, and Giant. Ground beef packaged under the Fairbank Farms name was also distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

It appears that this recall is an expansion of the Crocetti-Oakdale Packing, doing business as South Shore Meats, Inc., recall of 1.039 pounds of E. coli tainted beef linked to illnesses in Massachusetts and likely Rhode Island. “This expansion is a massive recall, and the danger cannot be overstated,” said foodborne illness expert and attorney Bill Marler, who represents several families in the outbreak. “The last recall of this size—Nebraska Beef in August of 2008—sickened dozens. It means that tainted meat is in homes across the country, and we have to do our best to get the word out to consumers so that they don’t suffer the illnesses that these families have.”

A cluster of at least 20 E. coli illnesses were reported by middle schoolers and chaperones who visited Camp Bournedale in Plymouth, MA in mid-October. “At this time it is unclear if these illnesses are linked to either recall, however, the timing is quite suspicious,” added Marler.

With the recent recall of 1,039 pounds of hamburger contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, and the additional 546,000 pounds of hamburger recalled, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. Hamburger recalls since 2007 have now reached 41,958,504 pounds. And, this is not counting another recall from 2008. Then, Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., a Chino, California establishment, voluntarily recalled approximately 143,383,823 pounds of raw and frozen beef products that FSIS had determined to be unfit for human food because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection.