It was in 2009 that the Minnesota Department of Health the results of molecular testing were uploaded by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) that involved a strain of E.coli. The exact strain was 0157:H7 and it was taken from a stool sample of a patient. After this, there were 13 additional strains that were identified in patients in 11 states. This means that there was a breakout.
The CDC and state investigators combed 17 states and found 25 patients that were a part of the outbreak. Twelve of those patients were hospitalized, one died, and one had Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Of the 22 individuals interviewed, 14 of them said they ate steak at a particular restaurant. Nine of the 14 said that steak was consumed at Applebee’s. Of the 7 that did not eat steak, they said they had consumed ground beef.
After some investigation, it was found that the outbreak was linked to a common source. The source was National Steak and Poultry (NSP).
On December 24, 2009, NSP recalled nearly 300,000 pounds of beef due to E.coli contamination. In January 2010, the CDC published their final investigation, which was supplemented by an MDH report that was published later in the year.
Investigators would also learn that not all of the patients that suffered from the outbreak had consumed steak the week before they became sick. These patients had consumed ground beef. In fact, approximately 40% of the patients interviewed said they had consumed ground beef. The beef was purchased by two retailers – Upper Lakes Foods and Cash Wise and Coborns. One distributor was also involved and it was shown that the ground beef had come from J&B Wholesale.
The beef that J&B Wholesale purchased was traced back to Tyson Fresh Meats in Illinois, Texas, and Kansas. The ground beef that was used in Tyson’s products were supplied by Beef Products Incorporation (BPI).
A gentleman who consumed the beef at the group home where he lived became very ill. Other patients also became ill and this is what has led to a lawsuit against all companies involved in the production and distribution of the beef that made them ill. The beef that the group home purchased was from Cub Foods and it has been found that the trim from Tyson was used in ground beef sold at Cub Foods. It is very unlikely that JBS or BPI supplied trim to Cub Foods.