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E. Coli Injury Lawyer

What is E. Coli?

E. coli (Escherichia coli) gram-negative bacterium, that is observed in a rod shape, when viewed by an electron microscope. It was discovered by the German pediatrician, Theodor Escherich in 1885, from whence its name derives. Most of the strains of E. Coli are harmless to humans (especially considering strains of E. coli are found in the natural flora [a/k/a plant-species] present in the human gastrointestinal tract); and, they indeed confer a benefit to the human body through generation of vitamin K2, and preventing the proliferation of harmful, or pathogenic, species of bacterium in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Despite the general nature of most strains of E. coli being beneficial to the human body, some strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7, are observed as responsible for acute food poisoning; and, have been the primary impetus for many recalls of food products from produce to dried goods to meats.

If you or a loved one have believe that you or they suffer harm from contracting E. coli, as a result of the negligence of another, contact an E. coli Attorney at the Finz firm now at (855) TOP-FIRM or complete the Free E. coli Case Evaluation form to find out how the Finz law firm can help!

How does Food Poisoning from E. coli Contamination Occur?

As mentioned above, E. coli is, generally, not a form of bacteria that harmful to the human body, as it is present in the gut of human beings. However, when the E. coli that is present in the gastrointestinal tract of other species contaminates food which is then consumed by humans, without first eradicating the foreign E. coli through sufficient thermal exposure, and humans ingest the food that is contaminated, food poisoning often occurs.

One source of E. coli contamination has been observed as originating from the poultry processing industry. The issue has become one of paramount concern because, in that industry, where prophylactic antibiotic administration has been controversial for decades, researchers now say workers who handle "broiler chickens" in manufacturing plants are at risk of contracting drug-resistant E. coli and spreading it in communities. A broiler is a chicken raised specifically for its meat.

In fact, public health investigators at Johns Hopkins University estimate that workers in poultry factories in the United States are 32 times more likely to be colonized with E. coli that repels the antibiotic gentamicin (a drug is used to treat E. coli in both poultry and humans) than people in other lines of work.

"We are running out of antibiotics to treat human infections," said Lance Price, who led a study evaluating antibiotic use in the broiler chicken industry.

Price theorizes that worker exposure acts as a conduit of gentamicin-resistant E. coli to communities at large. As industry workers interact with others in their communities (outside of the industry), resistant strains can spread exponentially, ultimately rendering the drug useless. "Many of these workers wear uniforms," he said, which often are laundered at home and handled by other household members who can be exposed.

Price's research, reported in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that gentamicin is used more than any other antibiotic. For example, birds are given antibiotics when they're sick, to prevent illnesses, and for growth enhancement.

It gets to the consumer in much the same way, when the contamination is not eradicated prior to the infected broilers going to market. Consumers can be exposed to drug-resistant bacteria during chicken preparation, Price said, but following strict rules of hygiene, and keeping raw fowl separated from other foods, can prevent colonization.

"Any time you have organisms resistant to an antibiotic that is used in human medicine, then you have a problem," said Kathryn Boor, who chairs the department of food science at Cornell University. However, there are dozens of E. coli strains, she added, and most are harmless. Chickens do not have or spread E. coli O157:H7, Boor underscored, a strain specific to cattle that contaminated spinach and lettuce in previous years.

What are the Signs/Symptoms of E. Coli?

Food poisoning from E. coli, for example from strain O157:H7, presents itself three to four days post-exposure.

Though it may be misdiagnosed as a myriad of conditions, from gastritis to Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome, the signs and symptoms of food poisoning from E. coli exposure include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody;
  • Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness; and,
  • Nausea and vomiting,

Legal Help for Victims of E. Coli induced Food Poisoning

If you, a family member or a friend were diagnosed or treated for E. coli, please contact an E. coli Attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C. today at (855) TOP-FIRM to speak with an experienced E. Coli Attorney now or fill out the Free Case Evaluation form to the right of this page.

Related News for E. Coli Injury

Tainted Romaine Poses Significant Health Risk

April 25, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

As of April 20th, 2018, thirty one people have been hospitalized and dozens more sickened by a large scale E. coli outbreak stretching north to south from Alaska to Arizona and west to east from California to New York.  The source of the contamination has been traced to Romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, an agricultural community that supplies produce nationwide during the winter months.

Continue Reading: Tainted Romaine Poses Significant Health Risk

E. Coli and the Responsibility of the CDC

March 02, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

An outbreak of E. coli in late 2017 left 26 people significantly ill and 2 people dead.  An investigation by Canadian authorities linked the bacteria to Romaine lettuce, and the CDC simply took the report at face value and closed their own investigation despite differences in the bacterial strains between the US and Canadian outbreaks.

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Put Down that Cookie Dough! E. Coli Contaminated Flour Leads to a Major Recall

August 05, 2016 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

One of the best parts of baking a cake or cookies is being able to clean off the mixers and taste the batter or dough before it goes in the oven. Cookie dough has become a common flavor in ice cream, candy and even protein bars. A recent recall of flour by General Mills, however, has people staying away from the sweet treat due to a possible risk of E. Coli contamination.

Continue Reading: Put Down that Cookie Dough! E. Coli Contaminated Flour Leads to a Major Recall

Eating Out with E. Coli and The Dangers of Food Contamination

January 08, 2016 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Chipotle’s hope for a smooth 2016 is not going well so far. The Mexican restaurant chain has been subpoenaed in a federal investigation involving an outbreak of norovirus which sickened over 200 people in Simi Valley, California, last August. The company is still trying to recover from two E. coli outbreaks and another problem with the norovirus that lead to restaurant closings and a change in their food preparation policy. That started in October when 11 Chipotle locations were shut down in Oregon and Washington due to contamination from Escherichia coli bacteria (better known as E. coli). By the end of the year, 53 customers were sickened in nine states across the country with 20 people being admitted to the hospital. In addition, 141 college students contracted the norovirus at a Chipotle location in Boston in December.

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Food and Contamination: Be Careful What You Eat

May 14, 2014 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

In the centuries predating mass-production agriculture, people grew their own food. They grew crops and raised livestock and, as recently as the 1970s, a majority of American homes had stay-at-home mothers who prepared meals for their families. To use a cliché, times have changed. It’s much easier for mom or dad to pick up that evening’s dinner at a deli section at a grocery store or from a fast-food restaurant. Many find it is also much easier to follow the instructions on a package of processed food than it is to prepare meals using a family or favorite recipe.

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Food Poisoning: What You Need to Know

March 07, 2014 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Mass production of food has replaced ancient societies where people grew their own crops, hunted game or raised livestock. While highly unlikely, a gulp of a drink or a bite to eat can lead to food poisoning sending the consumer to the hospital—or the morgue.  One resident of Northern California recalls becoming deathly ill in 2011 after ordering a hamburger at a restaurant for dinner. His first red flag was that the meat was pink. Two hours later, his stomach hurt, he had severe stomach cramps and became nauseated. Even after taking over the counter medications, his condition worsened. After two days in bed, he began vomiting blood he was treated at a local hospital.

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