Foodborne Illness, Food Poisoning Lawsuits and Contaminated FoodsMar 28, 2017
Food Poisoning and Foodborne Illness Lawsuits
The majority of people have experienced illness related to food at some point in their lives. Foodborne illness or food poisoning can have various causes. Sometimes food products can be become contaminated through poor sanitation practices, for instance. Examples of common food poisoning culprits include listeria, salmonella, and E. coli.
The food poisoning attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are offering free legal consultations to individuals who suffered foodborne illness related to contaminated products. The firm has decades of experience dealing with consumer safety lawsuits.
Food poisoning can cause various gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping and fever. Most of the time, food poisoning resolves on its own. However, some cases of food poisoning are serious and require hospitalization. Oftentimes, foodborne pathogens may only lead to temporary symptoms in normal, healthy adults but have serious consequences in vulnerable populations. For example, food poisoning is often the most dangerous in young children, frail and elderly people, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system. Food poisoning can be fatal in some cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 250 different foodborne illnesses. Pathogens that can cause food poisoning are usually bacteria, viruses or parasites. The agency estimates that each year, 48 million people get food poisoning, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 people die.
Certain foods are associated with food poisoning more frequently than others. The CDC says foodborne illness is most likely to occur in raw foods of animal origin. This includes products such as raw meat and poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw shellfish. Food poisoning can also occur from eating raw fruits and vegetables. Washing fruits and vegetables beforehand can reduce this risk, but does not eliminate the microbes completely.
Food can be contaminated through many different routes. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables may cause foodborne illness if they are washed with water that is contaminated with animal manure or sewage, the CDC says. If someone handling food is infected with the Shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus, or norovirus, this person can spread the illness to others if they fail to wash their hands. Healthy animals normally have microbes in their bodies, particularly the intestines, and contamination can occur during slaughter.
To avoid foodborne illness at home, the CDC advises consumers to cook food to the right temperature, wash hands and surfaces frequently, and refrigerate food immediately. Cross contaminating different foods, such as raw meat, poultry and eggs, can also spread microbes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who believe they have food poisoning should seek medical attention if they have symptoms such as: blood in the vomit or stools, a temperature exceeding 101.5F, frequent vomiting or inability to keep down liquids, severe pain or cramping, dehydration (excessive thirst, dry mouth, no urination, weakness, lightheadedness), and neurological symptoms (blurred vision, muscle weakness, tingling in the arms).
There is an incubation time, or delay, in between the time you are exposed to the contaminated food and the time symptoms arise. The CDC says the symptoms may appear hours or days later. Therefore, the food that caused your food poisoning may not necessarily be the last thing that you ate.
Listeria Food Poisoning Recalls
Many food recalls are issued due to potential contamination with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. In 2016, numerous ice cream products were recalled due to a listeria scare. Listeria is normally present in the environment and can be tracked into food processing facilities through raw materials, humans, or equipment.
In February 2017, Sargento recalled certain cheese products after a supplier notified them of potential contamination with listeria.
A multistate listeria outbreak in March 2017 prompted Vulto Creamery to recall certain cheese products.
The CDC says 1,600 cases of listeria infection are reported each year. These listeria infections lead to 260 deaths annually.
Salmonella Food Poisoning Recalls
Salmonella is another common cause of food poisoning. According to the CDC, 380 people die each year from salmonella poisoning and 19,000 people are hospitalized. Food poisoning from salmonella is most frequently caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, egg or egg products.
In November 2016, 4C foods recalled certain cheese products due to the risk of salmonella contamination.
A deadly salmonella outbreak occurred in 2015, 700 people became ill in 35 states and four people died. The foodborne illness was traced back to contaminated cucumbers. More than half of the people affected were children, the CDC said.
Legal Help for Food Poisoning Victims
If you or someone you know became exposed to listeria, salmonella, or contracted other foodborne illnesses, you may have valuable legal rights. The food safety attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).