This fall, food poisoning outbreaks have surged throughout the country, including recent E. coli outbreaks. The FDA and CDC have been busy investigating illnesses in this fall’s third multistate outbreak of E. coli. According to the CDC, infections have been reported in six states, with at least 12 people infected and five hospitalized and one-third of all reported cases coming from Illinois. The identified source, however, was distributed to 19 states and Puerto Rico, leaving a large number of people at risk of contracting food poisoning. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we fight for those who have fallen ill to foodborne illnesses as a result of food vendors’ negligence, including products sold in grocery stores across the nation.
The Source of the Outbreak
The recently released CDC notice connects the E. coli outbreak to a brand of romaine lettuce that is sold in grocery stores nationwide, including Walmart. The lettuce is sold under the name Tanimura & Antle, and the recalled lettuce was labeled with a “packed on” date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020. The lettuce was lab tested by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the outbreak strain was identified in a sample of the company’s single-head romaine lettuce. Illinois holds the highest number of cases, with four recorded. Though the E. coli strain was found in the sampled lettuce, the CDC stated that they were unable to definitively determine whether the Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce did indeed cause the illnesses. In order to protect consumers, those who have purchased the lettuce have been advised to avoid consuming the product.
Where Does the Bacteria Come From?
E. coli is typically transmitted through the consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked meats, raw milk, and particular fruits and vegetables. The bacteria is due to fecal contamination. For fruits and vegetables, such as the lettuce listed above, the contamination is often due to contact with feces from domestic animals or wild animals during the plants’ cultivation. For both meat and produce, contaminated water can also be the culprit. Fecally contaminated water that is used during the food preparation process can lead to E. coli outbreaks upon consumption.
E. Coli Prevention
Both the industry and the purchaser have a responsibility to have safe, proper preparation. For produce farmers and vendors, it is important to monitor the soil and water sources being used to avoid contamination. Vendors have an even greater responsibility to hygienically prepare the products in the packaging process. For purchasers, it is important to keep your surfaces and utensils clean before use, separate raw and cooked materials, cook all products thoroughly, and use safe water and materials.
Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney
Did you recently purchase Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce and get sick after consuming it? Whether you are one of the four recorded in Illinois or are just now connecting the dots between a recent illness that you experienced, Newland & Newland, LLP is here to support you. Our firm advocates on clients’ behalf because everyone deserves to eat hygienic, well-prepared products, even those that you purchase at the store and bring home to cook yourself. If you have recently suffered a severe reaction to food, contact our Chicago food poisoning lawyers at 847-840-8950 to schedule your free initial consultation.