Big Macs 'poisoned us'

Parents to sue burger firm over bacteria claim

by Paul Gallacher

The Express, 6th December 96; UK

BURGER chain McDonald's is to be sued by the parents of three food poisoning victims.

They claim their children caught the deadly E.coli bug from its restaurants beefburgers last summer.

Yesterday they were granted legal aid I-hey are also going to sue the Government for allegedly failing to warn people about E.coli 0157, which has now killed seven people in Scotland.

The earlier sufferers are all young girls. Three-year-old Dominique Herring from Gateshead needed weeks of kidney dialysis for chronic food poisoning.

Her parents claim she caught E.coli from an undercooked McDonald's burger in July. She fell ill within days.

Her mother Pamela, a 30-year-old civil servant, said: "Dominique is now a lot better and has left the critical kidney unit. But we don't know what long-term damage has been done. She could face problems during pregnancy and will need six monthly checks until she is five and yearly checks until she is 18."

Four-year-old Rachel Thomes and sister Katie, seven, fell ill, allegedly after visiting McDonald's at Liverpool in August.

Rachel had kidney failure and needed a life-saving blood transfusion. Katie needed hospital treatment for severe stomach cramps and was passing blood.

Doctors confirmed both were suffering E.coli poisoning. Their father, foundry worker Gareth Thomas, of Speke, Liverpool, claims a McDonald's burger was responsible. Both have recovered but doctors say Rachel may lose her kidneys when she grows older because of the illness. The families' solicitor, Lucy Kennedy, said the cases were the first of their kind involving food poisoning. "We say they were caused by eating undercooked hamburgers."

McDonald's have not yet been contacted by lawyers but said: `'These are very serious issues. We want to know what the facts are and re-assure our customers that they are perfectly safe.

"We were very concerned when we heard of the illnesses experienced by Katie and Rachel Thomas. We are pleased to hear of their recovery. A full investigation took place and no link with McDonald's was established.

"McDonald's first priority is always the safety of our customers and we take any claim of this nature very seriously."

  • Scientists researching E.coli bacteria have had their funding cut by the Government. Most of the 2.6 million has been diverted into BSE research.

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