Many vendors at farmers markets take inadequate precautions to prevent the spread of foodborne illness, and they should be trained to reduce food-safety risks, according to Penn State researchers who completed the final phase of an innovative five-year study.

Using a comprehensive three-way approach, the research assessed food safety behaviors at Pennsylvania farmers markets using direct concealed observations, state sanitarian observations, and self-reported vendor surveys. The results revealed key distinctions between observed vendor food-handling practices — by both researchers and state sanitarians — and vendor self-reported practices.

The findings, which were published Nov. 1 in Food Protection Trends, suggest that Pennsylvania would greatly benefit from a customized food-safety training program offered to farmers market vendors to address the identified issues and regulatory requirements for selling safe foods in Pennsylvania.

“We found that our direct field observations and inspector findings were very similar, yet very different from what most vendors said they were doing — their self-reported behaviors,” said Cathy Cutter, professor of food science in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, whose research group conducted the study. “There was a chasm, if you will, between what we and the inspectors saw, and what vendors reported they were doing,” added Cutter, who is also assistant director of food safety and quality programs for Penn State Extension. “The vendors think they are doing a good job, when in reality they are not. We are not sure why there were such discrepancies. Nevertheless, they need to do better.”

Specifically, vendors were found to demonstrate insufficient or high-risk behaviors in the areas of hand washing, personal hygiene and cross-contamination. Notably, researchers found that the use of disposable gloves at Pennsylvania farmers markets remains low, even among vendors who sell unpackaged, ready-to-eat foods.

Direct concealed observations conducted by the researchers found less than 24 percent of the vendors had disposable gloves present at vending stands, despite the fact that a majority of surveyed vendors sold raw or temperature-control-for-safety foods, such as meat and seafood, as well as ready-to-eat foods at the same stand. And within the group of vendors observed to be using disposable gloves, slightly less than half used them improperly.

The handling of money and unpackaged foods without changing gloves in between tasks was the most common improper glove-use behavior seen by both researchers and Pennsylvania state sanitarians.

“These results suggest that there is a general lack of understanding among vendors about when to use disposable gloves, when to change gloves, and what kinds of behaviors are unacceptable while wearing gloves,” said lead researcher Joshua Scheinberg, now director of food safety and quality assurance with Godshall’s Quality Meats in Telford, Pennsylvania. The research was his doctoral thesis.

Having evolved since the colonial era, farmers markets have replaced Old-World-style markets, with more than 8,500 U.S. farmers markets in operation today. As farmers markets have increased in size, scope and complexity, so have the potential food-safety risks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40 percent of farmers markets are selling prepared foods, 66 percent meat or poultry, and 16 percent fish or seafood.

“These significant changes in the kinds of foods sold at farmers markets present new food-safety challenges and implications,” Scheinberg said. “As a result, several studies have revealed high-risk food-safety factors unique to farmers markets and farmers market vendors. We also saw problems.”

In the study, researchers checked select samples of leafy green produce and meat obtained from farmers markets in Pennsylvania for the presence of hygiene indicators — coliforms, fecal coliforms, Listeria, and E. coli — and found cause for concern.

E. coli was present in 40 percent — 20 of 50 — of beef samples; 18 percent — 9 of 50 — of pork samples; 28 percent — 15 of 54 — of kale samples; 29 percent — 15 of 52 — of lettuce samples; and 17 percent — 8 of 46 — of spinach samples. They found Listeria in 8 percent — 4 of 50 — of beef samples; 2 percent — 1 of 54 — of kale samples; 4 percent — 2 of 52 — of lettuce samples; and 7 percent — 3 of 46 — of spinach samples.

A previous phase of the research created an app for smartphones to be used in place of the traditional clipboards to improve the quality of data collection related to food-safety observations. Because smartphones are so ubiquitous, and text messaging and social media activities so common in public places, no one questions what anyone does with their phone. That pervasiveness allows a phone application to be used in direct, concealed observations without alerting the people being observed.

Food-safety practices used by food handlers are often monitored for research, inspection and regulatory purposes. However, if surveillance is not concealed, it can result in unintended behavioral changes, according to Scheinberg. Those changes — known as the Hawthorne Effect — can render such observations meaningless.

Also, in a subsequent phase of the study, researchers developed a curriculum for Penn State Extension to train farmers market vendors in food safety that is now available online through the Penn State Extension website (https://extension.psu.edu). This Penn State research is a perfect example of how a land-grant university should function, Cutter pointed out.

“We are using science — in this case, a structured research program — to support decision-making and development of a curriculum,” she said. “What we do in extension is absolutely critical to keeping agriculture-related businesses in operation. We develop programs, activities and products around these types of research projects and then deliver them to the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

Also involved in the research were Rama Radhakrishna, professor of agricultural and extension education, and Jonathan Campbell, assistant professor of animal science and extension meat specialist. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension funded this project.

Here is a list of products recalled over the last few days:

102-2018 SK Food Group Recalls Chicken Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Vegetables Oct 19, 2018 

101-2018 Buddy’s Kitchen, Inc. Recalls Pork and Chicken Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Vegetables Oct 19, 2018 

100-2018 Envolve Foods Recalls Chicken and Beef Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Vegetables Oct 19, 2018 

099-2018 Caito Foods, LLC Recalls Salad And Bowl Products Made With Chicken Due To Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Corn Oct 19, 2018 

098-2018 Ruiz Food Products, Inc. Recalls Beef and Poultry Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Onion Ingredient Oct 19, 2018 

097-2018 GHSW, LLC Recalls Salad Products Due To Possible Salmonella And Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Corn Oct 19, 2018 

096-2018 GHSE, LLC Recalls Salads Containing Meat Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Corn | En Español Oct 17, 2018 

095-2018 Taylor Farms Northwest LLC Recalls Pork Carnitas Bowl Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Tomatillos | En Español Oct 17, 2018

Oct 18, 2018094-2018 Mary’s Harvest Fresh Foods, Inc. Recalls Wrap and Salad Meat Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Corn | En Español Oct 17, 2018

Oct 18, 2018093-2018 GH Foods CA, LLC Recalls Salads Containing Chicken Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination In Corn | En Español Oct 17, 2018

Oct 18, 2018092-2018 Prime Deli Corporation Recalls Salads Containing Meat Products due to Possible Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Corn | En Español Oct 16, 2018 

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.

SEATTLE, Washington – Marler Clark, the food safety law firm, commends the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent statement committing to disclose retailer information to improve consumer safety. This commitment to transparency is especially important where the source of the specific contaminated product is not easily identifiable to consumers, as in the recent Romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7 or in the  Pre-cut fruit Salmonella Outbreak. Releasing retailer information increases consumer knowledge for all parts of the supply chain.

Marler Clark represents 100 people sickened in the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and has represented victims of every major foodborne illness outbreak for the past 25 years. In addition to working with health departments to collect information, Marler Clark conducts its own traceback investigations to help hold companies accountable to providing contaminated food to consumers.

“Greater transparency from the FDA not only increases consumer safety by providing more information to consumers about foods to avoid, it also increases accountability to insure similar outbreaks do not happen again,” said Bill Marler, Managing Partner ad Marler Clark.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death. Managing partner, Bill Marler began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company.  For the last 25 years, Marler Clark has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States, filing lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Chipotle, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, McDonald’s, Odwalla, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. The firm has secured over $650,000,000 for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and other foodborne illnesses.

Cargill Ground Beef 2018 – 17 Ill, 1 Death – E. coli O26

On Aug. 16, 2018, FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O26 illnesses. FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state public health and agriculture partners determined that raw ground beef was the probable source of the reported illnesses. The epidemiological investigation identified 17 illnesses and one death with illness onset dates ranging from July 5 to July 25, 2018.  On August 30thPublix Super Markets Inc., a Lakeland, Fla., retail grocery store chain recalled an undetermined amount of ground beef products made from chuck that may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O26.  On September 19th, Cargill Meat Solutions, a Fort Morgan, Colorado establishment, recalled approximately 132,606 pounds of ground beef products made from the chuck portion of the carcass that may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O26,

A bit of History:

Cargill Ground Beef 2012 – 40 Ill – Salmonella

On July 22, 2012 Cargill Meat Solutions announced a recall of 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products due to possible contamination with Salmonella Enteritidis. Using epidemiologic and traceback data public health investigators in 8 states (MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WV) and the CDC linked 40 patients diagnosed with S. Enteritidis to consumption of Cargill ground beef sold at Hannaford grocery stores in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Among 40 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates ranged from June 6, 2012 to July 9, 2012. Eleven patients were hospitalized. The Vermont Department of Health isolated the outbreak strain in leftover product.

Cargill Meat Solutions Ground Turkey 2011 – 181 Ill – Salmonella

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service(FSIS) issued a public health alert, on July 29, due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that associated with the use and the consumption of ground turkey. The alert was initiated after continuous medical reports, ongoing investigations and testing conducted by various departments of health across the nation determined an association between consumption of ground turkey products and illness. On August 3, Cargill Meat Solutions issued a recall of ground turkey products. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-963” inside the USDA mark of inspection. On August 4, the Centers for Disease Control published their first outbreak summary. The Salmonella Heidelberg was multi-drug resistant, resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, and gentamycin. The CDC began their investigation on May 23, after recognizing an “unusual clustering” of Salmonella Heidelberg cases. About the same time, routine surveillance by a federal food monitoring system found the same strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in ground turkey in stores. On July 29, the initial outbreak strain and a second, closely related, strain of Salmonella Heidelberg was isolated from a sample of leftover unlabeled frozen ground turkey from the home of an outbreak case in Ohio. Since February 27, 2011, a total of 23 ill persons were reported to Pulse Net with this second, closely related, strain. Eighty-four ill persons were infected with the initial strain. The consumer product sample originated from the Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation establishment in Springdale, Arkansas. On September 11, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled an additional, approximately 185,000 pounds, of ground turkey contaminated with an identical strain of Salmonella Heidelberg that had led to the earlier recall on August 3. As of September 27, no illnesses had been linked to the additionally recalled, ground turkey products.

Cargill Meat Solutions/BJ’s Wholesale Club Ground Beef 2010 – 3 Ill – E. coli O26

A recall of ground beef was issued on August 28 when three people developed illnesses caused by rare strain of E. coli O26 after they had eaten the product. The ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions, of Pennsylvania and was distributed to BJ’s Wholesale Clubs in New York, Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef 2009 – 2 Ill – Salmonella

In December, Beef Packers, Inc., owned by Cargill, recalled over 20,000 pounds of ground beef contaminated with a drug-resistant strain of Salmonella Newport. The company issued an earlier recall in August 2009, due to contamination of ground beef with the same strain of Salmonella Newport. This contaminated ground beef was produced in September and was distributed to Safeway grocery stores in Arizona and New Mexico. The Arizona Department of Health linked two illnesses to the ground beef.

Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef 2009 – 68 Ill – Salmonella

A Beef Packers, Inc. plant in California owned by Cargill, distributed approximately 830,000 pounds of ground beef that was likely contaminated with Salmonella Newport. The beef was shipped to distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Utah where it was repackaged into consumer-sized packages and sold under different retail brand names. The contaminated beef contained a strain of Salmonella resistant to several commonly used antibiotics (called MDR-AmpC resistance). Sixty-eight outbreak associated cases were reported by 15 states. Most of the ill in Colorado had purchased the ground beef at Safeway grocery stores.

Cargill Ground Beef Sold at Sam’s Club Stores 2007 – 46 Ill – E. coli O157:H7

A multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 began in August and led to the eventual recall of 845,000 pounds of Cargill ground beef. Forty-six cases were reported by 15 states. Interviews with the case-patients found a common exposure of Cargill hamburger.

Emmpak/Cargill Ground Beef 2002 – 57 Ill – E. coli O157:H7

Wisconsin epidemiologists noted a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases. The health department interviewed case-patients and found a common exposure. All victims had eaten ground beef from Emmpak, a meat producer. The same strain of E.coli O157:H7 was isolated from the ground beef. The case investigation resulted in a 2.8-million-pound recall of Emmpak meat and resulted in related illnesses in at least six states. The responsible Emmpak plant was closed for inadequate sampling and testing procedures.

Cargill Deli Turkey 2000  – 29 Ill – Listeria

A case-control study implicated sliced, processed, turkey deli meat in a multistate (11 state) outbreak. A traceback investigation identified a single processing plant in Texas as the likely source of the outbreak. The company recalled 16 million pounds of processed meat. The same plant had been implicated in a Listeria contamination involving the same strain of Listeria more than a decade previously.

Marler Clark, The Nation’s 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 $650 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 KinerStephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health):

As has been reported by local media, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) is investigating a potential foodborne illness cluster following numerous, independent complaints of foodborne illness reported by individuals who have dined at Pasha’s Mediterranean Grill on Wurzbach Road during the past Labor Day weekend.

As of Sept. 5, more than 60 individuals reported foodborne illness symptoms after eating at this food establishment. Common symptoms of foodborne diseases include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. However, symptoms may differ among the different types of foodborne diseases.  Health officials encourage anyone who recently ate at the restaurant and is experiencing symptoms to seek medical attention.

The restaurant is cooperating fully in the investigation and Metro Health staff is working with the restaurant to ensure all precautions are being taken to prevent any further illnesses.

According to press reports:

A total of 184 people have reported symptoms of foodborne illness, seven of whom have been hospitalized, after eating at a Northwest Side restaurant over the weekend, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

The people had eaten at Pasha Mediterranean Grill on Wurzbach Road between Friday and Sunday, health officials said.

The New York State Department of Health, working collaboratively with the Chautauqua County Health Department, is investigating reports of multiple illnesses potentially associated with the McDonald’s at 2803 N. Main Street Extension in Jamestown, Chautauqua County.

“We are working diligently with the State Health Department and McDonald’s representatives to conduct a thorough epidemiological investigation into these illnesses,” said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director. “There is currently no identified source of these illnesses and there is no evidence that the illness can be spread from person to person.”

Twenty-two (22) individuals reported common symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea from August 4-21. Through interviews conducted with 15 case patients, all individuals indicated they had eaten various breakfast sandwiches at the establishment. Additionally, patient samples as well as breakfast sandwiches prepared at the McDonald’s were sent to the Wadsworth Center, New York State’s Public Health Laboratory in Albany, for testing. While many tests are pending, preliminary testing has come back negative.

McDonalds is fully cooperating with this investigation and is readily following all recommendations of the State and County Health Departments while this investigation continues. The franchise owner is voluntarily implementing the following precautionary action items: temporarily closing the establishment to conduct a thorough cleaning of the food preparation area and all equipment, reviewing the food preparation and distribution process in conjunction with County staff, obtaining a fresh supply of ingredients prior to restarting food production, and conducting a follow up meeting with the Chautauqua County Health Department to ensure all recommendations were appropriately met.

No other McDonald’s locations are involved in this investigation.

Anyone who may have visited the McDonalds at 2803 N. Main Street Extension in Jamestown and experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea shortly after eating there between August 4 to today can contact the Chautauqua County Health Department at 716-753-4483 or email CCHEALTH@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

SEATTLE, WA – Marler Clark, the Nation’s Food Safety Law Firm, has hired two new attorneys over the past year. Jenny Schell and Josh Fensterbush both graduated from Seattle University School of Law, the alma mater of managing partner, Bill Marler. Unfortunately, 2018 has been one of the busiest years for Marler Clark representing victims of foodborne illness. The firm has 100 clients from the romaine E. colioutbreak alone as well as clients from:

  • Cyclosporaoutbreak linked to Fresh Express salads
  • Cyclosporaoutbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays
  • Salmonellaoutbreak linked to Jimmy John’s sprouts
  • Salmonellaoutbreak linked to Fareway chicken salad
  • Salmonella outbreak linked to Rose Acre Farms
  • Salmonellaoutbreak linked to Caito cut melons
  • Salmonella outbreak linked to Kellog’s Honey Smacks
  • Salmonellaoutbreak linked to Hy-Vee pasta salad

Jenny joined Marler Clark in August 2018. Before joining us, she served as a judicial clerk for Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson of the Washington State Supreme Court. While in law school, Jenny was a legal extern for Judge Beth Andrus in King County Superior Court and worked with organizations such as the ACLU of Washington and the Washington Appellate Project. She speaks fluent Spanish and worked in immigration defense before law school.

Jenny graduated from Seattle University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2017. She also has a B.A. with honors in history from Lewis & Clark College. Outside of work, she enjoys playing music and doing anything outdoors, especially if she can take her dog with her.

Josh joined Marler Clark in March 2017, after graduating from Seattle University School of Law, Cum Laude. During law school, Josh served as a legal extern to Commissioner Kanazawa at Division 1 of the Washington State Court of Appeals, as a local Casework Coordinator for the International Refugee Assistance Project and was also appointed Research & Technical Editor of the Seattle University Law Review.

At Marler Clark, Josh serves in multiple capacities to bring about effective results for claimants of foodborne injuries. He has worked on a variety of cases involving E. coli, hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Listeriaoutbreaks, and his work regularly involves conducting discovery matters, researching critical litigatory issues, drafting pleadings and motions, and participating in mediations and trial preparation.

Josh is also proud alumnus of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and Philosophy. His activities during that time not only influenced him to pursue a legal education, but also fostered in him a deep love for the outdoors, biking, rugby, and beer.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death. Marler Clark formed after managing partner, Bill Marler, began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coliO157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company.  The 2011 book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.  A new edition of the book is coming out later this year.

SEATTLE, Washington – Marler Blog has been selected by the ABA Journal as one of the 100 best digital media for a legal audience. Additionally, Marler Blog along with Food Poison Journal were recognized as two of the Top 30 Food Safety Blogs, Websites & Newsletters to Follow in 2018 by Feedspot.com. Both websites are run by Bill Marler, the managing partner at Marler Clark, the food safety law firm. Mr. Marler uses the sites to raise awareness about foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls and to call for food safety policy reform.

An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world.  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death.

Bill began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company.  The 2011 book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.

For the last 25 years, Bill has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States, filing lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Chipotle, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, McDonald’s, Odwalla, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Through his work, he has secured over $650,000,000 for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, and other foodborne illnesses.

Among the most notable cases he has litigated, Bill counts those of nineteen-year-old dancer Stephanie Smith, who was sickened by an E. coli-contaminated hamburger that left her brain damaged and paralyzed, and Linda Rivera, a fifty-seven-year-old mother of six from Nevada, who was hospitalized for over 2 years after she was stricken with what her doctor described as “the most severe multi-organ [bowel, kidney, brain, lung, gall bladder, and pancreas] case of E. coli mediated HUS I have seen in my extensive experience.”

First off, yes, 2018 seems to be – and we are just 1/2 way into it – a very Big, Bad year for foodborne illnesses.  Second, I am not sure why.  It could be better surveillance by state, local and national health authorities utilizing cutting edge tools such as PFGE and WGS.  It could be a lack of support for inspectors.  It is certainly possible that it is more imports with a greater supply chain with a great chance for contamination or temperature abuse.  It also could be more mass produced fresh, ready to eat foods without a “kill step.”  It also could be none of those things, but it seems to me to be more than just random events.  Here are some of the highlights of 2018:

E. coli

Romaine Lettuce – 218 sick in US and Canada with 96 hospitalizations and 5 deaths.

 

Cyclospora

McDonald’s Salads – 163 sick with 3 hospitalizations.

Del Monte Vegetable Trays – 237 sick with 7 hospitalizations.

 

Salmonella

Jimmy John’s Sprouts – 10 sick.

Kratom – 199 sick with 50 hospitalizations.

Fareway/Triple T Chicken Salad – 265 sick with 94 hospitalizations and 1 death.

Go Smile Coconut – 14 sick with 3 hospitalizations.

Rose Acre Shell Eggs – 45 sick with 11 hospitalizations.

Caito Cut Melons – 70 sick with 34 hospitalizations.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks – 100 sick with 34 hospitalizations.

Hy-Vee Pasta Salad – 21 sick with 5 hospitalizations.

Raw Turkey – 90 sick with 40 hospitalizations.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Venezuelan Crab Meat – 12 sick with 4 hospitalizations.

And, we are only 1/2 way through the year.

The food attorneys at Marler Clark are the nation’s leading lawyers representing victims of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

Marler Clark was established in 1998 by the top food attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants in the landmark litigation arising from the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.

The firm has since represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks across the country.

The Marler Clark food attorneys focus solely on representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks, representing victims of E. coli, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter, Listeria, norovirus, Salmonella, and Shigella outbreaks nationwide. Marler Clark has litigated against huge corporations including Cargill, Dole, Wal-Mart, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Nebraska Beef, Nestle, and Yum! Brands on behalf of clients injured in foodborne illness outbreaks traced back to the companies’ food products. Our food attorneys have won over $650 million dollars in settlements for our clients.

Marler Clark’s attorneys travel widely to speak to environmental health and industry groups, university students, and food safety conference audiences, often on topics related to the intersection of public health and the law and preventing foodborne illness.

The law firm advocates for safer food by working with clients to tell their stories; Bill Marler and several of the firm’s clients have testified before Congress about illnesses from unsafe food. Marler Clark publishes premier sources of online information on food safety: Food Safety NewsFood Poison JournalReal Raw Milk Facts, and the Outbreak Database.

Ruiz Food Products, Inc., a Denison, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 50,706 pounds of frozen breakfast burritos that may be contaminated with extraneous material, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen cook and serve breakfast burritos were produced on March 3, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:  [View Label (PDF only)]

  • 3.38-lb. plastic wrapped packages containing 12 Count, 4.5-ounce individually wrapped frozen “EL MONTEREY SIGNATURE BURRITOS, EGG, SAUSAGE, CHEESE & POTATO” with lot code 18062 and 18063, and a best if used date of 3/3/2019 or 3/4/2019.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 17523A” on the back of the packaging. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

The problem was discovered after the company received complaints from consumers who reported finding white, semi-rigid plastic pieces in the product.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.