Attorney Fred Pritzker has been retained by a woman whose illness was linked to steak contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The steak was served to the woman at a chain restaurant.
Our client experienced extreme pain and suffering from E. coli O157:H7 poisoning and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of HUS that can cause kidney failure, central nervous system damage, hypertension, and other serious health problems. The young woman was hospitalized for weeks and almost died. She was on dialysis for months and now suffers from decreased kidney function and hypertension. She faces a lifetime of medical problems and medical bills that should have been prevented.
Our client was part of a group of more than 20 people who contracted E. coli infections after eating steak in the fall of 2009. All of those sickened ate at restaurants in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. The following restaurants were involved in the outbreak: Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Moe’s, Carino’s Italian Restaurant, and KRM Restaurant Group, the owner of 54th Street Grill and Bar.
In response to this outbreak, National Steak and Poultry recalled 248,000 pounds of beef products on December 24, 2009.
The recalled beef products, so-called “non-intact beef products,” were mechanically tenderized. This process involves putting tougher cuts of beef through a machine that utilizes a set of needles or blades which pierce the meat and break down connective tissue.
Unfortunately, this process will push E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that are found on the surface of the raw meat into its center (so-called “translocation”). If the meat is then cooked rare or medium rare, its center is not heated sufficiently to kill off the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Beginning in May 2016, the USDA is making producers and processors indicate on the label that a steak has been mechanically tenderized.