What Chain Restaurant is Connected to an E. coli Outbreak in New Jersey?

Our law firm is working on obtaining information to determine what chain restaurants in New Jersey are connected to 8 E. coli illnesses in 4 counties: Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Warren.

Can I Sue a Restaurant for E. coli Poisoning?

Eight people in New Jersey have been diagnosed with E. coli food poisoning, and a public health epidemiologist in Warren County told nj.com that E. coli cases may have been from restaurants owned by one large, national chain. The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDH) said in a press release that it is “investigating a possible association with a chain restaurant,” but the department also stated that “the association may be broader than a single chain restaurant.”

Both NJDH and the CDC are doing testing on E. coli isolates to determine if all 8 people were sickened by the same food source. The case breakdown is as follows:

  • 4 in Hunterdon
  • 1 in Warren
  • 1 in Middlesex and
  • 2 in Somerset.

Some reports are saying some people got sick as early as the third week in March. All eight of the people sickened have been hospitalized, and three of them are still in the hospital.

As part of the investigation, NJDH is in the process of interviewing people who have been diagnosed with E. coli poisoning. This is done to gather food history data. Questions include both what was eaten and where.

Although it can be very difficult to determine where someone got sick, when a statistically significant number of people ate the same restaurant before getting sick, that is evidence that the restaurant is the source of the E. coli outbreak. This is true even if those people ate food at a number of places before becoming ill, including at home, restaurants, and supermarkets.

ARS image K11077-2/Photo by Eric Erbe, Colorization by Christopher Pooley

The timeline of an outbreak investigation involving a restaurant is generally as follows:

  1. The state lab does testing to determine if the strains of E Coli that sickened people match, and if they match, it is an outbreak;
  2. The CDC does confirmatory tests and genetic testing on E. coli bacteria isolates;
  3. Health officials interview people sickened and parents of children sickened;
  4. If the same restaurant is mentioned in these interviews, health officials get food and environmental samples from the restaurant;
  5. These samples are tested in state and if E. coli bacteria is found, CDC labs;
  6. State health officials and the FDA do traceback investigations to determine the common food source that made people sick, which includes finding out all of the suppliers of the restaurant;
  7. If a supplier is implicated, investigators go to distribution centers and food processing plants to get food and environmental samples for testing.

If you want to sue a restaurant for food poisoning, you can contact our law firm for a free consultation with an E. coli lawyer. Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won a $7.5 million verdict in an E. coli lawsuit they filed on behalf of a child who suffered kidney failure because of a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Out break victims are also at risk for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).

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Category: Food Poisoning
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