On August 23, 2012, Mrs. Bernacki experienced onset of vomiting and diarrhea. Her stool specimen collected at Rockyview General Hospital on August 26 was culture positive for E. coliO157:H7. She eventually died on January 16th, 2013, leaving her husband, three children and a large, loving family.
Genetic testing by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) showed that Gail Bernacki was infected with E. coli O157:H7 strain ECXA1.1775/ECBN1.0012. See Bernacki Completed NDR Interview Form, Alberta Health Services, Attachment No. 2. CFIA analyzed a “partial head of Tanimura and Antle Romaine Lettuce UPC 0 27918 20314 9” from the Bernacki home on September 2012. E. coli O157:H7 was not isolated in the uneaten portion of the lettuce but it is clear that the contaminated product was in the Bernacki home and that a portion had been consumed. See CFIA Report of Analysis, Food Products Sampling Submission, Attachment No. 3.
Noted foodborne illness epidemiologist, Dr. John Kobayashi, reviewed the facts of the outbreak and Mrs. Bernacki’s E. coli O157:H7 infection. Dr. Kobayashi opined on a more probable than not basis that Gail Bernacki was ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection and that the source of her infection was Tanimura and Antle Romaine, which was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. See Expert Report of John Kobayashi, MD, Attachment No. 4.
Suit will be filed in Federal Court in California. Download complaint.
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