Firm files lawsuit in Applebee's E. coli case

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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MINNEAPOLIS – A man is suing an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Woodbury, Minn., because he contracted an E. coli O111 infection after eating at the restaurant.

Keith Comstock said he became sickened almost three days after eating an Oriental Chicken Salad. Comstock remained ill for several weeks, according to the complaint. He is seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

“It is too early to determine how many people have been sickened by this outbreak or the precise food product that caused it,” said Brendan Flaherty, an attorney with PritzkerOlsen law firm. “Our client hopes to use the power of the courts to help get answers and keep more people from getting sick.”

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is investigating 13 cases of E. coli O111 infection. “All of the illnesses were caused by the same genetic strain of E. coli O111, and the ill people do not all share any obvious commonalities; these facts indicate the illnesses resulted from a widely distributed food item,” the agency said in a statement.

Seven affected individuals reported eating at Applebee's restaurants in Minnesota between June 24 and June 27, however, there are multiple cases with no connection to the restaurant, MDH noted.

“Applebee’s is cooperating fully with the investigation and as a precaution volunteered to remove the Oriental Chicken salad from menus at all its Minnesota restaurants while the investigation continues,” MDH said. “The restaurant is also removing specific ingredients of its Oriental Chicken salad from other items on its menu out of an abundance of caution. Health officials are still working with Applebee’s, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and other regulatory partners to determine the cause of the outbreak.”
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