Cargill E. coli Outbreak (2007)
On October 6, 2007, Cargill recalled approximately 845,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties for possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination after three people in Minnesota tested positive for E. coli and a joint investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Agriculture identified the Cargill hamburger patties as the source of the illnesses. Sam’s Club, a major purchaser of Cargill frozen hamburgers, pulled all Cargill ground beef products from its shelves.
Victims of the E. coli outbreak traced to Cargill hamburgers were identified in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Marler Clark filed four lawsuits on behalf of victims of the outbreak. Stephanie Smith, a 22-year-old dance instructor from Cold Spring, Minnesota was severely injured. She developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and was paralyzed from the waist down. Michael Moss of the New York Times won a Pulitzer prize for his article about Stephanie and the origins of the burger that made her so ill. All of the lawsuits have been resolved.