E Coli Greatest Hits: 5 Recent US Outbreaks

June 7, 2011

The e coli outbreak in Germany will, tragically, likely prove to be the largest in history. And just last weekend, a child in Virginia was killed by e coli. So, for the purpose of reviewing our sad, food safety track record, here are five major e coli outbreaks in recent U.S. history. 

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1. 2007: Topps Meat Comany recalls more than 21 million pounds of beef due to e coli contamination. The Elizabeth, New Jersey company was founded in 1940, but closed after the e coli recall, which at the time was the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history. The largest was Hudson Foods, which in 1997 recalled 25 million pounds of beef. 

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2. 2007: United Food Group recalls nearly 6 million pounds of ground beef after 14 are sickened across 11 states with e coli. 

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3. 2006: Taco Bell sickens 39 across New Jersey with produce tainted with e coli. It was first suspected green onions were the cause, but later it was discevered lettuce could be the culprit. 

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4. 2006: Spinach tainted with e coli kills three people and sickens 198 people across the U.S. The spinach was packaged by Eathbound Farm

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5. 2002: E coli also sparked the third largest ground beef recall in history when ConAgra recalled more than 19 million pounds when 18 people were sickened after eating hamburgers that came from a ConAgra plant in Greeley, Colo. 


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