Wendy’s Lettuce E. Coli outbreak leads to lawsuits in Michigan, Ohio
- People are filing lawsuits against Wendy after she was infected with E. coli.
- The CDC has not confirmed the source of the outbreak, but said many patients have eaten Wendy’s lettuce.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 100 people have been infected so far, ranging in age from 3 to 94.
Lawsuits against Wendy escalate as Escherichia coli bacteria, believed to be caused by romaine lettuce served in sandwiches, are spreading with nearly 100 cases in the Midwest and one now reported in New York.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 97 people have been affected by the outbreak so far in six states: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New York. The last two countries are still new to the list.
“A specific food has not been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many patients reported eating burgers and sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy’s before they got sick,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Of the 81 people it has information about, the CDC said 43 people were hospitalized as part of the outbreak, and 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious and rare condition that can cause kidney failure.
The CDC said no deaths have been reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “The true number of patients in this outbreak is likely to be higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to states with known diseases,” explaining that it takes up to a month to determine whether The disease was linked to the outbreak and some people recovered without medical care or were not tested for E. coli.
As the number of cases rose, a number of lawsuits were filed against Wendy’s.
Marler Clark, a Seattle-based food safety legal firm, has filed six lawsuits against Wendy’s and the lettuce supplier, representing 36 people.
Two complaints were filed in Michigan and four in Ohio.
According to one lawsuit, a Michigan woman began experiencing symptoms of E. coli four days after eating a burger at Wendy’s. Then she was hospitalized for 12 days.
Another lawsuit said an Ohio resident was hospitalized for a week after eating a burger at Wendy’s.
“Additional lawsuits will be filed in the coming days,” the company said on Wednesday.
Wendy’s did not immediately respond to an Insider’s request for comment, which was done outside of normal business hours.
The CDC said that of the 67 people for whom it collected a detailed food history, 81% said they had eaten at Wendy’s in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio or Pennsylvania in the week before their illness began. The CDC said the patients ate a “variety of menu items” and began falling ill between July 26 and August 15.
According to the CDC, E. coli outbreaks have been identified in 58 people in Michigan, 24 in Ohio, 11 in Indiana, two in Pennsylvania, and one each in Kentucky and New York. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the people are between the ages of three and 94.
The CDC said Wendy is cooperating with the investigation and has removed lettuce from sandwiches in the area.
The CDC said Wendy uses a different type of romaine lettuce in her salads and there is currently no evidence to suggest that lettuce sold in grocery stores or served in other restaurants is linked to the outbreak.