Since last Saturday night when the federal Food Safety & Inspection Service went public with the recall of 188,000 pounds of ground beef from the Minnesota-based Rochester Meat Co., not much has happened.

Well, the profile of the California victim became known.  It was reported this way in the local San Diego media:

A local teen’s illness has been linked to a national beef recall.
The 17-year-old girl was not hospitalized and has since recovered.
But her case has health officials worried that others could become 
sick, as well.
E. coli fears have led a Minnesota meat packer to recall nearly 
200,000 pounds of ground beef patties.
The company ships its products to distributors around the country for 
use in restaurants and other food service operations.
The recalled beef was not sold directly to consumers.

No, it was sold to restaurants, including perhaps just one national chain, who then sold it to consumers. 

Yesterday, food safety attorney Bill Marler went on the attack over the lack of information on this recall coming from the impacted states and federal officials.  From Marler:

Public health officials in Washington DC, California and Wisconsin are playing a dangerous game with American consumers by refusing to reveal the specific stores or restaurants that may have served meat contaminated by toxic E. coli, says the Seattle lawyer who represents victims of food-borne illness.

‘The public needs to know who may have poisoned their kids,’ said Bill Marler, managing partner of the Marler Clark law firm in Seattle.

Marler spoke up Sunday after health officials revealed that 188,000 pounds of ground beef was being recalled by the Rochester Meat Company, a Minnesota firm, because it has been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  This appears to be the first major recall of 2008.  2007 set a recent record for recalls – topping twenty recalls of over 33 million pounds of meat.

While announcing the nationwide recall, officials have refused to reveal the name of the restaurant or other outlets believed to have served the meat to consumers.  That, Marler says, means that consumers who may be at risk of contracting potentially fatal food-poisoning  have no way of knowing – until they get sick.

He called on Dr. Richard A. Raymond, head of Federal Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS), Kevin R. Hayden, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, and Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, to immediately disclose the names and locations of retail outlets that have been associated with the contaminated meat.

The Federal Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) persuaded Rochester Meat Company to issue the recall after investigations revealed that at least six people have been sickened in Wisconsin and California.

‘We are hearing from the environmental health community that a national chain restaurant, or restaurants are connected with this recall,’ Marler said. ‘If so, these public officials are playing a very dangerous game. They are betting that nobody else gets sick because they had no way of knowing they were at risk.’

Marler said there are indications that state officials know of one or more restaurants where contaminated meat has been served and where consumers already have been sickened.  ‘The public has a right to know the name of that establishment and its involved locations, ‘ said Marler. ‘ If more than one is involved, the public has a right to know that too.’

Well said Mr. Marler!  Maybe someone in the national media will light a fire under these agencies that are suppose to operate in the public interest.  

document.getElementById(“MsgContainer”).innerHTML=’\x3cdiv\x3e\x3cbr\x3e\x3cbr\x3eWilliam D. Marler\x3cdiv\x3eMarler Clark LLP PS\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e6600 Columbia Center\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e701 Fifth Avene\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3eSeattle, Washington 98104\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e206.794.5043\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3ca href\x3d\x22http\x3a\x2f\\x22 target\x3d\x22_blank\x22\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3abmarler\\x22\x3ebmarler\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3ca href\x3d\x22http\x3a\x2f\\x22 target\x3d\x22_blank\x22\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3cbr\x3eBegin forwarded message\x3a\x3cbr\x3e\x3cbr\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cblockquote\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3cb\x3eFrom\x3a\x3c\x2fb\x3e \x26quot\x3bAndrew Stormer\x26quot\x3b \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3astormer\\x22\x3estormer\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b\x3cbr\x3e\x3cb\x3eDate\x3a\x3c\x2fb\x3e January 15, 2008 12\x3a16\x3a42 PM PST\x3cbr\x3e\x3cb\x3eTo\x3a\x3c\x2fb\x3e \x26quot\x3bBen Chapman\x26quot\x3b \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3abchapman\\x22\x3ebchapman\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b, \x26quot\x3bDoug Powell\x26quot\x3b \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3adpowell\\x22\x3edpowell\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b, \x26quot\x3bSuzanne Schreck\x26quot\x3b \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3asschreck\\x22\x3esschreck\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b, \x26quot\x3bBill Marler\x26quot\x3b \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3abmarler\\x22\x3ebmarler\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b, \x26lt\x3b\x3ca href\x3d\x22mailto\x3adeflynn737\\x22\x3edeflynn737\\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x26gt\x3b\x3cbr\x3e\x3cb\x3eSubject\x3a\x3c\x2fb\x3e \x3cb\x3eoutbreak story\x3c\x2fb\x3e\x3cbr\x3e\x3cbr\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3c\x2fblockquote\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3cblockquote\x3e\x3cdiv\x3e\x0d\x0a\x0d\x0a\x0d\x0a\x0d\x0a\x3cp\x3e\x3cfont size\x3d2\x3eCALIFORNIA\x3a Local teen made ill by recalled beef\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a15.jan.08\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a760 KFMB AM Radio\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a\x3ca href\x3d\x22http\x3a\x2f\\x2fnews\x2fstory.php\x3fid\x3d114700\x22 target\x3d\x22_blank\x22\x3e\x3ca href\x3d\x22http\x3a\x2f\\x2fnews\x2fstory.php\x3fid\x3d114700\x22 target\x3d\x22_blank\x22\x3ehttp\x3a\x2f\\x2fnews\x2fstory.php\x3fid\x3d114700\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x3c\x2fa\x3e\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aA local teen\x27s illness has been linked to a national beef recall.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aThe 17-year-old girl was not hospitalized and has since recovered.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aBut her case has health officials worried that others could become\u00a0\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0asick, as well.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aE. coli fears have led a Minnesota meat packer to recall nearly\u00a0\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a200,000 pounds of ground beef patties.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aThe company ships its products to distributors around the country for\u00a0\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0ause in restaurants and other food service operations.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0aThe recalled beef was not sold directly to consumers.\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a\x3cbr\x3e\x0d\x0a\x3c\x2ffont\x3e\x0d\x0a\x3c\x2fp\x3e\x0d\x0a\x0d\x0a\x0d\x0a\x3c\x2fdiv\x3e\x3c\x2fblockquote\x3e’;