October 16, 2008: Vermont E. coli Outbreak Update

Vermont Health officials have issued a second warning to state residents and visitors, to not eat undercooked meat after the ninth case of E. coli O157:H7 food poisoning was confirmed.  One more suspected case of E. coli food poisoning remains unconfirmed at this time. ...

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It was reported that the source of the Vermont E. coli outbreak is contaminated beef, and that it was served in restaurants.  The Vermont Department of Health warned consumers of the following:

Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160º F. Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7. The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

While consumers can implement these practices in their own homes, this latest outbreak underscores the fact that restaurants do not always follow food service establishment rules.  So here are three tips that can help reduce the risk of food poisoning when ordering a burger in a restaurant:

  • Order your burger (or other ground beef dishes) “well done”.
  • Before you bite into your burger, cut into the center.  If the restaurant did not honor your request, send the burger back for further cooking.  Don’t be shy, your health comes first; and restaurants know of the health risks associated with serving undercook meats to their patrons.
  • If you do send you burger back, explain that you would like a new roll (or bun), new toppings, and a fresh plate.

The health department investigation is still ongoing, and health officials caution that anyone experiencing severe abdominal symptoms (diarrhea, bloody stool, cramping, vomiting) should seek medical attention right away.  Physicians are asked to report suspected cases of E. coli 0157:H7 to the Vermont Department of Health.


To learn more about E. coli food poisoning, please see E. coli symptoms.


Our firm represents victims of food poisoning outbreaks nationwide. If you believe that you are the victim of a foodborne illness and have a question concerning your legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274, or click on Free Case Evaluation.  Please click on E. coli Lawyer to return to the homepage.


For information concerning recent food recalls, outbreaks, and legal news, please see Illinois E. coli Lettuce, Michigan E. coli Lettuce, and Salmonella IHOP.

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