E. Coli Suit Against Minnesota's Cargill

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by Matt Carlson

A 22-year-old woman from Cold Spring, Minnesota is suing, Cargill, the nation's largest private company for $100 million in response to nearly dying, all from eating beef tainted with E. coli.

In 2007, Stephanie Smith and her family ate hambugers at a family barbecue.  The illness she incurred from the beef left her paralyzed.

Smith's medical bills already exceed $2 million, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Smith was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that can lead to kidney failure, according to the Associated Press.

Cargill officials maintain that the illness of Smith is not their fault, even though they have paid for some of her and others' medical expenses regarded the 2007 E. coli outbreak, which sickened 24 Americans, according to the Pioneer Press.

In a New York Times article published two months ago, it was reported that E. coli was found in trimmings that were processed in Cargill's plants.  Cargill officials suggested to the Times that the trimmings were tainted before reaching Cargill processing facilities, according to the Pioneer Press.

Smith's attorney, Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food-illness attorney, said that regardless of when or where the beef was contaminated, they are responsible as the distributors of the beef.

Smith's story in the Times garnered attention from Washington where a food safety bill is making slow progress.  The Pioneer Press also reports that scientists are now conducting large-scale trials vaccinating cattle against the E. coli bacteria, a venture that Cargill is invested in.

Cooking hamburgers to at least 160 degrees will kill the bacteria, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Pioneer Press article.

2 Comments

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