Toxic Tort Attorney Margie Searcy Alford On E. Coli Poisoning Litigation

In this analysis, toxic tort and product liability attorney Margie Searcy Alford looks at the most important E. Coli opinions handed down over the past several years and gives practice tips for handling these cases. Issues discussed include: diversity jurisdiction, statutes of limitation, proof of causation, expert testimony and prisoner actions. 

She writes: 

"E. coli infections begin when a person consumes small amounts of human or animal feces, usually by eating contaminated food or drinking raw milk, contaminated water, or unpasteurized juice. Cattle is the main source of E. coli infection. E. coli can live up to 70 days in cattle feces, making fresh manure application a possible means of contamination. Pre-distribution contamination of lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and spinach have all resulted in E. coli outbreaks. Cross-contamination from meat to other food during preparation is another common cause of E. coli 0157:H7 contamination. Ingestion of pathogenic E. coli has also resulted from swimming in lake water, touching animals in petting zoos, and eating food prepared by food handlers with poor personal hygiene.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the annual number of E. coli 0157 infections in the United States at about 70,000. The number of infections caused by other strains each year is believed to be about the same. . . .

"In the public's eye, E. coli 0157 is inextricably linked with ground beef products. While there is no shortage of E. coli cases associated with hamburgers, a quick survey of outbreaks across the country illustrates the variety of sources of E. coli. . . ." 

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