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Student sues for E. coli damages

October 9, 2008

An MSU student who contracted E. coli in September as part of a statewide outbreak is suing Aunt Mid’s Produce Company, the company which the Michigan Department of Community Health said distributed contaminated lettuce throughout the state.

Samantha Steffen, a Lyman Briggs freshman, is represented by Seattle-based food-borne illness law firm Marler Clark. The lawsuit is the first against Aunt Mid’s after 34 Michigan residents, including nine MSU students, became ill last month with E. coli infections.

According to a press release from Marler Clark, Steffen suffered from E. coli-related symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, starting on Sept. 13. Steffen went to the hospital and was treated for severe dehydration.

“The Michigan Health Department has linked these illnesses to lettuce produced by Aunt Mid’s Produce,” Steffen’s attorney Bill Marler said in the statement. “Despite requests that they reveal the source of the tainted lettuce — a pivotal step toward ensuring that there is no additional tainted product in the supply chain — Aunt Mid’s has refused to do so. Food distributors are responsible not only to their direct consumers but also to the food supply system as a whole. By withholding information about a contamination event, Aunt Mid’s Produce is not doing their part to keep food safe for everyone.”

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