The family of a Minnesota man who died due to E. coli poisoning in 2010 has filed a lawsuit against JBS Swift, Tyson Fresh Meat, Beef Products Inc. (BPI) and several other companies.
The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 8, claims Robert Danell died from medical complications after eating ground beef contaminated with E. coli. Meat, including the infected ground beef affecting Danell, sickened at least 25 people in 17 states in 2009.
The outbreak was traced back to the slaughterhouse in Greely, Colo. operated by JBS Swift & Company. Food Safety News says records from the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service indicate the beef was then sold to BPI who produced beef which was packaged in a Tyson ground beef product eaten by Danell.
According to the New York Daily News, Danell’s family has named Beef Products, Inc. in the lawsuit, claiming the E. coli outbreak is linked to lean finely textured ground beef, also called ‘pink slime.’
Danell’s family is represented by food safety law firm Marler Clark, who blames BPI and other companies named in the suit for selling “unreasonably dangerous” food.
“I am 99.99 percent sure that my client’s death is linked to LFTB that BPI sold to Tyson,” Bill Marler, the attorney filing the lawsuit, told the New York Daily News.
BPI claims it has never had a health problem linked to LFTB and a FSIS press officer never issued a recall for BPI products after the outbreak because it wasn’t entirely certain the company’s products were linked to the outbreak.
An open letter from BPI founder and CEO Eldon Roth lists safety measures in place at the plant to ensure food safety. Roth addresses the issue in the letter posted on MeatingPlace.com:
It is our understanding that the ground beef obtained from one of the individuals involved in the Minnesota Department of Health investigation and which contained LFTB was tested for the presence of E.coli O157:H7 and tested negative. Further, based upon the type of ground beef consumed in this case, we know that no trim from the facility alleged to be the source of the E.coli O157:H7 outbreak would have been included in the LFTB we sold to Tyson Fresh Meats.