The unfortunate trend for E. coli and beef in late 2009 and 2010 continues.  This evening, West MissourI Beef, LLC, a Rockville, Missouri beef company, recalled 14,000 pounds of boneless beef products due to potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination.  Today’s recall brings the tally for recalled beef due to E. coli contamination to 1,636,000 pounds of beef

Counting Friday’s sausage recall by Daniele International, Inc., food companies have recalled at least 2,880,000 pounds of meat products since November 2009 due to contamination by E. coli or Salmonella. 

Friday’s recall:  (from FSIS press release)

Daniele International Inc., an establishment with operations in Pascoag and Mapleville, R.I., is recalling approximately 1,240,000 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE)

 Today’s announcement by USDA-FSIS of another beef recall due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination bodes poorly for this new year.  Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, LLC., an Athol, Mass., establishment, is recalling approximately 2,574 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  The recall occurs in the wake of an epidemiological

The CDC again amended its case-count in the Fairbank Farms ground beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak.  Secondary DNA tests (surely MLVA) have helped the CDC whittle the number of cases down from 28 in 12 states on November 2, to 26 in 11 states on November 3, to 25 in 10 states today.  These changing case-counts got me thinking about an important aspect of every outbreak of foodborne disease:  that the number of "confirmed cases" is rarely, if ever, an accurate count of the number of actual victims in any outbreak situation. 

The reality of these outbreaks (whether E. coli O157, Salmonella, or anything else) is that the number of people who are actually ill, as opposed to the number who have a stool sample that tests positive, is much bigger than the reports would indicate.  In fact, one of the leading studies on the subject suggests that the number of actual victims in a given outbreak, as opposed to merely those with positive stool samples, is as much as 38 times the number of stool sample confirmed individuals. 


Continue Reading Fairbank Farms E. coli O157 Outbreak: how many are really ill?

Recently, certain sectors have argued that the incidence of E. coli O157:H7, and other shiga-toxin producing strains of E. coli, in ground beef has dropped precipitously, and that our food safety system is, as a result, working very well.  At Marler Clark, over the last several years—in fact, beginning with the infamous Dole baby spinach outbreak in

FSIS today released the identities of retail stores that may have received E. coli O157:H7-contaminated ground beef involved in the current recall by Fairbank Farm.  All Shaw’s stores in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachussets, and Vermont may have received contaminated meat; and all Price Chopper stores in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont may have received contaminated