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Article Summary

OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers are investigating three outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7. Although no specific source of the infections has conclusively been identified, the strains involved are the same strains previously linked to outbreaks from Romaine lettuce in 2018 and 2019. Further, the outbreak strain identified in the third outbreak was found on Romaine lettuce sold under the Tanimura & Antle brand.

Each of the three outbreaks has been declared over, but OFT’s investigation continues. If you have recently been diagnosed with an E. coli infection, please call or contact us using the form on the page for a free consultation.

*This page will update as more information becomes known*

Full Article

Three Separate Multistate E. Coli O157:H7 Outbreaks Announced in Fall 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced three distinct, ongoing outbreaks of E. coli infections.

First, on October 28, 2020, CDC announced two separate multistate outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) infections. Investigators eventually determined that one of the outbreaks was tied to consumption of leafy greens, but no specific type or brand was identified. The other of these outbreaks was never definitively tied to any specific source.

Second, on November 10, 2020, CDC announced a third, distinct outbreak of infections. At least 32 people in 12 states have been sickened in this outbreak, and five have been hospitalized. On November 6, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced that it had discovered E. coli in samples taken from bagged Romaine lettuce sold under the Tanimura & Antle brand. CDC later confirmed that the strain of E. coli found on the lettuce is responsible for the illnesses in the third outbreak announced on November 10th, although it has not been definitively determined that anyone got sick from eating this brand of lettuce.

Nonetheless, MDARD and FDA advised consumers not to eat the Tanimura & Antle Romaine lettuce, and to return or discard any in their possession.  The product is sold in a zip-top clear plastic bag with a blue label and white lettering.  The E. coli was specifically found in product with the UPC number 0-27918-20314-9 and a white sticker indicating it was packed in Salinas, California on October 15, 2020.

Shortly after MDARD’s announcement, the Food & Drug Administration announced a recall of the implicated product:

Tanimura & Antle Inc. is voluntarily recalling its packaged single head romaine lettuce under the Tanimura & Antle brand, labeled with a packed on date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020, due to possible contamination with E. Coli 0157:H7. Packages contain a single head of romaine lettuce with the UPC number 0-27918-20314-9. …

The recall is being conducted in consultation with FDA, and is based on the test result of a random sample collected and analyzed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling program. A total of 3,396 cartons of potentially affected product were distributed in the United States to the following states: AK, OR, CA, TX, AR, OK, IN, NE, MO, TN, WI, NM, SC, WA, NC, OH, VA, MA, PR, and IL. The potentially affected product was shipped in cases packed in either 12, 15, 18 or 24 heads per case. Retailers and distributors can identify the potentially affected products through the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) sticker attached to exterior of the case. The PTI codes are 571280289SRS1 and 571280290SRS1.

Widespread Outbreaks

Together, the outbreaks have sickened people across the United States. In all, 90 people became across the United States and least 41 people have been hospitalized. There has also been one tragic death.

Outbreak No. 1:

Outbreak No. 2:

Outbreak No. 3 (strain found on recalled Romaine lettuce):

E. Coli Infections Can Lead to Serious Complications

Up to 10% of individuals suffering from an E. coli infection develop HUS, which is a life-threatening condition. HUS develops about seven days after the first E. coli symptoms appear and when the diarrhea is improving. HUS can cause a person’s kidneys to stop working. If you notice the signs, you should get yourself or loved one to the hospital for treatment right away.

Symptoms of HUS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of pink color in cheeks and lower eyelids

Many people diagnosed with HUS recover within a few weeks with proper treatment. However, HUS can cause permanent physical harm or even death.

Contact us for more information

OFT Law offers free consultations to anybody potentially impacted by the outbreak. We have already filed a Wisconsin lawsuit we believe to be related to this outbreak

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks

$275,000

A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant

$525,000

A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia

$700,000

A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash