Oorah! US Marine recruits sidelined by E. Coli

Attending boot camp with the United States Marine Corps is pretty much volunteering for a beatdown: the grueling 13-week training schedule challenges the spiritual, physical and psychological mettle of each recruit--and that's before taking the shitty sanitary conditions their chow is made in into account.

Last year, 29 Marine recruits were admitted to the hospital with a variety of ugly symptoms ranging from bloody diarrhea to stomach cramps and seizures. To solve the mystery of what was happening to the recruits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were called in. The verdict: E. coli.

From Task & Purpose:

In August 2018, attorneys for three former Marines filed lawsuits against food service company Sodexo that prepares meals for recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, one of the two sites where enlistees enter the Corps’ 13-week boot camp. Court filings describe the tragic consequences faced by the recruits, all three of whom were ultimately discharged due to their medical conditions caused by the outbreak.

The lawsuits allege that Sodexo is responsible for the source of the E. Coli, and claims that food service staff served undercooked ground meat to the Marines. While the CDC report does not identify the source of the outbreak with 100% certainty, inspectors reported they observed unsafe meal preparation procedures, some of which violate FDA and California Department of Public Health standards.

The health issues caused by the presence of E. Coli were complicated even further, according to the CDC, by the fact that the washrooms used by the future Marines were often found lacking in soap, paper towels and toilet paper--sundries that the recruits are expected to restock themselves. With no way to ensure proper sanitary conditions, the recruits, beyond eating undercooked meat, were kind of asking for it.

Whether or not the court will see it this way as it exams their lawsuit remains to be seen.

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