A class action has been filed against the meat company Topps and its retailer customers on behalf of consumers who purchased or who were made ill by the company's products following the recent E. coli outbreak.

Law firms Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler and Janet, Jenner & Suggs filed the class action, the first to be lodged in the wake of the outbreak, in the US District Court for the Western District of New York against Topps, Wal-Mart Stores, Pathmark Stores, Wakefern FoodCorp., Shoprite and Rastelli Fine Foods.

The case is being brought on behalf of all consumers who purchased and consumed ground beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, and all consumers who suffered personal injuries after consuming ground beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the attorneys said in a statement.

"This Class Action was filed to protect the rights of all victims that have been wronged by the carelessness of the manufacturer, suppliers and distributors of the contaminated ground beef products. These defendant corporations must be held accountable for not protecting basic food, health and safety," said Tobias Millrood, partner at Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler.

Last week, Topps announced a recall of 330,000 pounds of ground beef, later extending the recall to include a total of 21.7m pounds of frozen ground beef products distributed to retail grocery stores and foodservice companies.

The E. coli contamination was discovered after an investigation into a cluster of illnesses in the Northeast region carried out by the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.