reports another development in the food industry’s fight against E. coli contamination:

Strategic Diagnostics Inc., a leading provider of biotechnology-based detection solutions for food safety and life science applications, today announced that its recently improved RapidChek(R) E. coli O157 (including H7) System has earned Performance-Tested Methods(SM) certification from the AOAC Research Institute (License Number

 Today’s recall of Nestle cookie dough got me thinking about other E. coli O157:H7 cases that we’ve recently handled.  John McDonald was a 5-year-old boy who we represented in a ground beef outbreak that occurred in 2007.  Unfortunately, John’s illness was about as bad as an illness can get without causing a death.  (it is unbelievable how many times I find myself saying that about our clients) 

John was hospitalized at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital from October 4 through 12, then was transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he remained until October 29.  During his hospitalization, John’s kidneys failed requiring extensive dialysis to cleanse his blood, and he became badly anemic requiring many blood transfusions.

But these conditions, though in and of themselves potentially lethal, were just the beginning.  What truly separates John’s illness from most of the hemolytic uremic syndrome illnesses that we see was the extent of injury to his gastrointestinal tract. 

Jim McDonald, John’s father, was present at the moment it became apparent just how severe John’s illness was.  It occurred in the early morning hours of Thursday, October 11, 2007.  He recalls: 

As usual, I got up to help as much as possible when the nurses came in and woke us up. When we opened his diaper, I got excited since it looked like he had had dark brown diarrhea, which told me that his digestive system was finally starting to kick in again. Realizing how liquidy the diaper was, we turned on an extra light to help us while changing him.

Continue Reading Cookies and E. coli: Here’s an E. coli story we will never forget