Final Update on Freshway Foods E. Coli Outbreak Issued by CDC

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

In recent weeks, at least 33 people in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have become infected with E. coli through lettuce distributed by Freshway Foods, according to the final update issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the report, three New York residents developed HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome) due to the E. coli O145 infection, two of these teenage students from Wappingers Falls.  The third is a freshman at Daemen College in Amherst.  Freshway Foods, an Ohio based distributor of romaine lettuce, has been implicated as the cause of the E. coli bacteria that has so far sickened 26 people.

The report by the CDC continues to state that a single unnamed farm is where the tainted lettuce that is distributed by Freshway came from, and other reports have pointed fingers at a Yuma Arizona farm, which is a region known for producing the most winter lettuce in the United States.  The FDA continues to work with state health departments in order to determine at what point in the distribution chain the contamination was likely to have occurred.

According to the CDC, the latest tally of those sickened by the E. coli outbreak include 11 confirmed and 2 probable in Michigan, 5 confirmed and 2 probable in New York, 8 confirmed and 3 probable in Ohio, 1 confirmed in Pennsylvania, and 1 confirmed in Tennessee.  So far, one victim in New York has filed suit against the responsible parties.

Devon Beer, Vice President of Freshway Foods, stated that the company worked with the FDA to trace the tainted lettuce to an unidentified Yuma grower.  According to Beer, the company ceased buying the romaine lettuce from Yuma on May 12.

E. coli food poisoning usually causes only mild symptoms in healthy individuals, but can cause serious and even fatal complications in certain people, including young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system.  Seek medical attention if you become ill after eating foods that are possibly contaminated with E. coli.  Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and occasional fever.

If you are injured by a food poisoning incident and have mounting medical bills, you should definitely consider contacting an experienced food poisoning attorney to review your case and let you know your rights in your situation.