Fairbank Farms Recall and Outbreak

The following is information on a 2009 Fairbank Farms beef recall prompted by an outbreak of E. coli infections. Five children were sickened in this outbreak; some developed kidney failure. Our lawyers represented people sickened in this outbreak, and we can help you if you have a claim against Fairbank Farms. We are national food safety lawyers.

According to the CDC:

Nineteen patients are reported to have been hospitalized and five developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Two deaths have been reported. Fifty percent of patients are male and 38% are less than 18 years old (range 1 to 88 years).

Ground beef E. coli outbreaks are not uncommon. If you or a loved one has contracted E. coli poisoning after eating ground beef, you may have a claim against Fairbank Farms, retailers who carried the product (Trader Joe’s, Shaw’s, Price Chopper, Giant and others), restaurants, food service companies, and others.

E coli Bacteria
This fluorescent photomicrograph depicts Escherichia coli bacteria found in a fecal smear.

Fairbank Farms Beef Recall

Ground Beef E. coliOn October 31, 2009, Fairbank Farms, an Asheville, New York firm, recalled approximately 545,699 pounds of fresh ground beef products that have been associated with a multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Three people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and two people died.

The CDC has confirmed that there is a link between the ground beef products subject to recall and illnesses in California (1), Connecticut (6), Massachusetts (8), Maryland (1), Maine (4), New Hampshire (4), New York (1), and Vermont (1).

Several state health departments, CDC, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections.

Health officials in several states who were investigating a cluster of illnesses, with isolates that match by “DNA fingerprinting” analyses, found that most ill persons had consumed ground beef, with several purchasing the same or similar product from a common retail chain. A number of the illnesses appear to be associated with products subject to these recalls.

Two samples from opened packages of ground beef recovered from a patient’s homes were tested by the Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Health and yielded a E. coli O157:H7 isolates that matched the patient isolates by DNA analysis.

The evidence gathered by the CDC and state health officials can be used as evidence in a lawsuit against Fairbank Farms and others.

The recalled ground beef products were sold under the following brands: Trader Joes, Price Chopper, Lancaster and Wild Harvest, Shaw’s Fresh, BJ’s, Ford Brothers, and Giant.

Each package bears the establishment number “EST. 492” inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the nutrition label. These products were packaged on September 15 and 16, 2009, and may have been labeled at the retail stores with a sell-by date from September 19 through 28, 2009, unless otherwise noted above.

Consumers should ask at their point of purchase if the products they have are subject to recall. The products were sent to distribution centers, intended for further distribution to retail establishments in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

This recall also involves products sent to companies for further processing:


These products were distributed to retail establishments in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia for further processing. However, these products at retail will likely not bear the package dates and sell-by dates listed above.

Our law firm has a national E. coli lawsuit practice. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team of lawyers have been interviewed by The Associated Press, CNN, CBS, FOX, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Lawyers USA, and others.