SEATTLE– LAWFUEL – Law News Network –William Marler, a nationally-recognized food safety advocate and attorney, today called on Taco Bell and its parent company, Yum! Brands, Inc., “to do the right thing and immediately pay the medical bills for the victims of this most recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to Taco Bell restaurants in New York and New Jersey.” Marler noted that in other outbreak-situations companies such as Dole, Jack in the Box, Odwalla, Chi-Chi’s and Sheetz advanced medical costs for outbreak victims whose illnesses were traced to their food products.
To date, New York and New Jersey health officials have reported that 39 people have been confirmed as victims of this Taco Bell outbreak. At least 2 victims developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially lethal complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection, and are still hospitalized. “With such devastating injuries, and so many of them,” Marler continued, “I hope that Taco Bell executives step up and do the right thing for their customers.”
This is not the first E. coli outbreak traced to food sold at Taco Bell. In December 1999, ten people became ill with potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 infections, including a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl, who were hospitalized. All but one of the victims recalled eating at various San Francisco-area Taco Bell restaurants within eight days of their illness, and all 10 cases were linked genetically to bacteria likely to have originated at a single source.
BACKGROUND: Marler’s Seattle-based law firm, Marler Clark (www.marlerclark.com) has represented thousands of victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella, Campylobacter and Norovirus illnesses in over thirty states. In 1998, Marler and his current law partners formed OutBreak, a non-profit food safety organization. Marler dedicates one-fourth of his time to travel to food-industry and public health conferences, giving speeches about how to prevent food poisoning and the consequences of foodborne illness outbreaks. Marler comments on foodborne illness litigation at www.marlerblog.com, and is available for television interviews via feed from local Seattle stations.