Mysterious illness sickens coroner’s conference attendees in Missouri

How gruesome is this:  dozens attending a coroner’s conference at the Truman Hotel & Conference Center became ill after dinner Wednesday night.

Capital Region Medical Center confirmed seeing a few people that night and Thursday in the emergency department. One person was hospitalized, six-feet-under-everything1but a hospital spokesperson said the patient had a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by the sudden illness.

The wife of Randolph County coroner Gerald Lundsford told connect midmissouri that, as of Thursday evening, her husband was still feeling awful.

No word on exactly how many people were affected. The source of the illness is also unknown at this time.

Mason’s mum: change the law

When a coroner ruled last week a lack of food hygiene standards at a Welsh butchery was the cause of 5-year-old Mason Jones’ death but there was insufficient evidence to prove “a serious and obvious risk of death,” Sharon Mills was stunned.

Mason’s mum told Abby Alford of Wales online,

“To me this is a travesty of justice.”

Ms Mills, 36, from Deri, near Bargoed, said she and partner Nathan Jones, Mason’s father, are considering calling for a change in the law which meant Bridgend butcher William Tudor – the man responsible for the 2005 outbreak during which more than 150 people were infected with potentially deadly E. coli O157 – escaped a manslaughter charge.

Last week’s verdict followed a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2007 not to pursue a manslaughter case because there was not a realistic prospect of conviction.

“Last Thursday after the inquest I woke up and I felt like I had lost Mason all over again. It’s been us versus the system and it’s a hard system to beat.”

Ms Mills said despite the support of some officials, she believes the pace of change in improving food safety systems has been painfully slow following the 24 recommendations for improvement put forward by expert Professor Hugh Pennington after the public inquiry.

Coroner returns verdict in Mason’s 2005 E. coli O157 death

BBC is reporting that the coroner at the inquest into a five-year-old boy who died in an E. coli outbreak in south Wales has recommended stronger enforcement of food hygiene laws, but would not back a verdict of manslaughter by gross negligence.

David Bowen said Mason Jones, from Deri near Bargoed, died after eating infected meat prepared with disregard for good food hygiene.

About 160 people became ill in the 2005 outbreak – the UK’s second largest.

The two-day inquest in Newport heard that butcher William John Tudor, 58, of Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, had sold rotten meat for years, and that the butcher was aware of the risks he was taking using the same equipment for cooked and uncooked meats.

One vacuum packer was used for packaging raw and cooked meats supplied to schools and care homes across south Wales.

Sounds like manslaughter to me, but Mr Bowen disagreed.

"I have agonised over a verdict of unlawful killing but despite substantial, some might say horrific, breaches of food hygiene regulations the evidence is not strong enough. There is little doubt Mason was owed a duty of care and a catalogue of failures to observe basic food hygiene breached that duty. But it is not enough for there to be a breach of the duty of care, however extensive and reprehensible that may be."

Mason’s mother Sharon Mills, a police community support officer, who now campaigns for food safety, wept as the verdict was returned.