A woman who was paralyzed after eating anE. coli-contaminated hamburger and who was subsequently profiled by the New York Times in an expose about meat safety is suing Cargill Inc. for $100 million.

Stephanie Smith, 22, and her attorney, Bill Marler, had been negotiating with the company on a settlement but were unable to reach an agreement. Marler said that her medical care has already exceeded $2 million and will likely cost millions more for the duration of her life.

Smith was sicked after eating a hamburger in 2007 and was in a coma for nine weeks. Marler called her the most severely injured person to ever survive an E. coli sickness. "We will continue to provide assistance to maximize her recovery, and will continue to work with her counsel to reach a fair resolution," said Mark Klein, a Cargill spokesman.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio

Beef Packers announces ground beef recall

Beef Packers, Inc., a Fresno, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 22,723 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced

The products subject to recall include 60-pound cases of "GRD Beef Fine 93/07 10/60." Each case bears the identifying case code W69363 with Use/Freeze by dates of 10/11/09. The ground beef products were produced on September 23, 2009 and bear the establishment number "EST. 31913" printed on the case code labels. The ground beef products were distributed to a retail distribution center in Arizona. Because these products were repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names, consumers should check with their local retailer to determine whether they may have purchased any of the products subject to recall.

As a result of an ongoing investigation into illnesses from Salmonella Newport associated with ground beef products, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) notified FSIS of the situation. Epidemiological and traceback investigations conducted by FSIS and ADHS determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and two illnesses reported in Arizona. The Salmonella Newport strain was isolated both from the patients and from ground beef produced by Est. 31913. They were also linked by their uncommon pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern found in PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is the second time this year that Beef Packers has issued a recall. The company previously recalled almost 826,000 pounds of ground beef in August because of Salmonella Newport concerns. That outbreak sickened almost 40 people.

Source: FSIS, USA Today

Tyson names heads of chicken, beef-pork businesses

Tyson Foods Inc. named two company veterans to head up its poultry and beef-and-pork businesses, filling holes left by promotions of those segments' leaders.

Donnie King will oversee the poultry and prepared foods operations, replacing Donnie Smith, who was recently named Tyson's president and chief executive. King started with Tyson in 1982.

Noel White will head Tyson's beef-and-pork business, called Tyson Fresh Meats. He succeeds Jim Lochner, who had been promoted to chief operating officer. White joined IBP Inc., which became Tyson Fresh Meats, as a pork sales representative in 1983.

"We believe Donnie and Noel have the leadership skills needed to help us execute the sound strategy we have in place to win," Smith said. He succeeded Leland Tollett, who was CEO on an interim basis.

Source: CNN, Dow Jones Newswires

Advance Foods acquires Whitaker Foods

Advance Foods Co. has announced the acquisition of Whitaker Foods, an Evansdale, Iowa, processor of ready-to-cook breaded pork, beef and chicken items to retail warehouses. According to theEnid (Okla.) News and Eagle, the acquisition does not include the Whitaker facility, and the production is being moved to Advance Foods' Enid facility.

“This acquisition is an important step in our company’s desire to bring the very best in value-added products to our customers,” Mark Allen, Advance president, said in a press release announcing the acquisition. “The Whitaker Foods product lines are very complimentary to our existing products, creating a synergy that will help Advance Food Co. reach our goal of becoming the unconditional leader in our product categories.”

The last day of production at the Whitaker plant was Friday. It is not yet known if any new jobs will be created in Enid. Whitaker Foods employed approximately 50 employees.

“We have been honored over the past 55 years to provide the highest quality products to our valued customers,” said Shari Bright, Whitaker CEO and daughter of the company's founders. “Although exiting the business was a difficult personal decision for us, it is comforting to know the products developed by my family over the years will carry on with Advance Food Co.”

Source: Enid News and Eagle