A woman in Kentucky has filed the first lawsuit concerning the ongoing E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef.
Melissa Carmicle is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from K2D Foods, alleging that her kidneys began to fail, and that she began having seizures, as a result of E. coli infection, USA Today reports.
K2D Foods, which operates as Colorado Premium Foods of Carrington, Ga., is one of two suppliers being investigated as sources for an E. coli outbreak affecting more than 150 people across 10 states. Products from both meat production facilities have recently been recalled.
Carmicle alleges that she first fell ill in March, and was admitted to the hospital, where doctors found her kidneys were failing. She was discharged days later, but claims she needed to be readmitted after suffering seizures.
Carmicle's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, argues that K2D sold "unreasonably dangerous and defective ground beef,” according to USA Today.
K2D Foods had issued the recall for approximately 113,424 pounds of ground meat products earlier this week, specifically vacuum-sealed packages of products labeled “ground beef puck” that had been shipped to distributors in Port Orange, Fla. and Norcross, Ga., to be sent out to restaurants via those distributors.
A package of ground beef from K2D foods, which was collected by investigators at a Tennessee restaurant where people with reported cases of E. coli infection had dined, tested positive for Escherichia coli O103, the USDA confirmed.
Grant Park Packing, of Franklin Park, Ill, had also recalled around 53,200 pounds of specific raw ground beef products shipped with labels including “North Star Imports & Sales” and “for institutional use only.” These products had been shipped to Minnesota for distribution, as well as Kentucky for institutional use, per a USDA news release.
Unopened packages of the ground beef also tested positive for E. Coli, though the USDA did not specify where it was collected.
The current outbreak linked to tainted ground beef has spread to 10 states, with 156 people testing positive for infection, according to the latest investigation notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the 156 people with reported cases, 20 had been hospitalized. There have been no deaths linked to this E. coli outbreak.
The FSIS and the CDC, along with public health departments in Kentucky and Georgia, are conducting ongoing investigations into the source of the contaminated beef. As of Tuesday, the CDC has not recommended that people refrain from eating ground beef, but instead stressed that “consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness.”
While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause illness, which typically includes stomach cramps and diarrhea, according to the CDC. The bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated water or food and sometimes through contact with other people and animals.
Alexandria Hein and Madeline Farber contributed to this report.