Family of St. Cloud man who died from tainted beef reach settlement in suit

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The family of a former St. Cloud man who died of kidney failure shortly after eating E. coli-tainted ground beef settled a lawsuit filed against several beef companies and retailers, the St. Cloud Times reports.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Robert Danell, 62, was one of 25 people in 17 states sickened in a 2009 E. coli outbreak.

Danell, who had Down Syndrome, attended a day program at Opportunity Manor Group Home in St. Cloud where he ate a hamburger and Swedish meatballs, both of which included ground beef from Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., in Dec. 2009 shortly before he became ill.

After enduring massive damage to his internal organs, Danell died at St. Cloud Hospital on Jan. 19, 2010.

According to the lawsuit filed last January, Minnesota Department of Health records indicated a Greeley, Colo. slaughter house operated by JBS Swift & Company sold beef trim to Beef Products, Inc. (BPI).

BPI then processed the scraps into ”lean finely textured beef” that is sprayed with ammonia to try to kill pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, also referred to as "pink slime."

Molecular tests were able to link the E. coli strain that sickened people back to JBS.

Bill Marler of Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm that represents Danell's family and other victims of foodborne illness, told the New York Daily News that he is “99.99 percent sure” that Danell’s death was linked to the beef scraps BPI sold to Tyson.

The lawsuit listed BPI, JBS, Tyson and a handful of other companies to target the entire chain of distribution.

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