According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, food manufacturer Del Monte has voluntarily recalled a selection of its vegetable trays after they became contaminated with a parasite.
The release, dated June 15, 2018, explains that Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc., issued a recall of some of its 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and 28-ounce vegetable trays. The trays contained cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, celery, and a container of dill dip. The packages were sold in six states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois.
Numerous state agencies contacted Del Monte about the reported outbreak. Del Monte agreed to voluntarily recall the potentially impacted products, which are contaminated with a microscopic parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis. This parasite may cause cyclosporiasis, an illness that impacts the intestines.
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include:
- Decreased appetite
- Watery diarrhea
- Vomiting (less common)
- Fever (less common)
People who are feeling these symptoms should seek medical attention.
Retailers that sold the affected Del Monte vegetable trays include Kwik Star, Sentry, Country Market, Meehan’s, Potash, Kwik Trip, Peapod, and Food Max Supermarket. The expiration date on the contaminated items is June 17, 2018.
The UPC code for the 6-ounce tray is 7 1752472715 2.
The UPC code for the 12-ounce tray is 7 1752472518 9.
The UPC code for the 28-ounce tray is 7 1752478604 3.
Consumers who have these products should immediately discard them.
More about Cyclosporiasis
People become ill with Cyclosporiasis when they drink water or eat food that has been contaminated with this microorganism. An individual sheds the parasite in the stool, at which point it may spoil the food or water supply. It takes a week or two for the parasite to infect someone else. Therefore, person-to-person infection is unlikely.
In the United States, the condition is spread by consuming contaminated fresh produce. In the past, Cyclospora contamination has been reported in basil, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, snow peas, and cilantro. It has not been reported in canned or frozen produce.
Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis usually last a few days but may linger for up to a month. Many individuals infected with the parasite complain that their symptoms go away briefly, only to return again. Affected individuals report feeling very tired as well.
Fortunately, Cyclosporiasis is treatable with antibiotics. Bactrim, Cotrim, and Septra are commonly used to treat the condition.
How can I prevent food contamination?
There are several steps that consumers may take to reduce the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses.
First, proper hand washing is essential. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
All cooking surfaces and utensils should be cleaned after each use as well.
Even if you are planning to peel or cut produce, you should still wash these items before eating. Bacteria and other contaminants can quickly spread to the inside once you cut into it.
It is not necessary to wash meat, poultry, or eggs. In fact, doing so may increase the risk of cross-contamination.
For produce, rinse the item to get rid of any dirt. A brush may also be used to clean the item. Soap is not recommended for use on produce. To avoid the risk of ingesting bacteria and other contaminants, bruised or damaged areas of produce should be removed before eating.
To keep food items fresh, refrigerate as soon as possible.
Keep your food preparation surfaces, as well as your refrigerator, as clean as possible. Wipe down all surface areas with a water and bleach mixture. All you need is one teaspoon of bleach in a quart of water. Use this solution to clean your refrigerator shelves, cutting boards, countertops, and other food preparation surfaces.
What happens, legally, if a food item causes serious illness? Who is liable?
Manufacturers have a duty to consumers—they must create and distribute items that are safe for consumption. If they sell a defective product, they may be liable for any resulting damages in a products liability lawsuit. Products liability lawsuits are strict liability claims. This means that a consumer does not have to prove that a manufacturer was actually negligent when the consumer was injured.
A consumer must provide evidence of four elements in a products liability claim:
- The product was defective
- The consumer was injured
- The defective quality of the product caused the consumer’s injuries
- The consumer was using the product as directed or as anticipated by the manufacturer
Each of these elements must be supported for a products liability claim to proceed in the court system. The claim will fail if evidence of one of the elements cannot be provided. If the claim fails and is dismissed from court, the consumer is not entitled to any compensation from the manufacturer. Therefore, the consumer would be responsible for the financial losses he or she has incurred.
A products liability claim involves at least one of the following types of defects:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Marketing defects
Design defects occur because there is a problem with the way the product is designed. For example, consider a chair that was designed with legs that are too weak for the base of the chair. If a consumer fell when the chair legs broke and suffered injuries, the consumer may be able to pursue legal action for a design defect.
Manufacturing defects occur when a problem arises as the product is being built or transported. Essentially, manufacturing defects may occur at any point from the time of production until the consumer begins using the product. In the chair example, perhaps by mistake, the wrong legs were attached to the seat during production. The legs for Chair A were actually attached to Chair B. A consumer purchases Chair B and is injured when the chair collapses. The consumer would have a claim against the manufacturer and would be able to cite a manufacturing defect.
With a marketing defect, the manufacturer fails to provide proper warnings or instructions with a product. Again, consider the chair example above. Perhaps the chair had a weight limit, but this weight limit was not listed with the chair’s packaging. If a consumer who exceeds this weight limit uses the chair, falls, and is injured, the consumer may be able to pursue a products liability claim against the manufacturer.
In a single products liability claim, just one defect may be present, or all three may be present.
If a consumer prevails in a products liability claim, a variety of damages may be available. These damages include:
- Medical expenses, including the estimated cost of any future medical care
- The cost of hiring in-home assistants to help with daily chores
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of employment benefits
- In some claims, death occurs due to a product defect. In these cases, surviving family members may claim funeral and burial expenses. They may also claim the estimated value of the deceased’s future income.
An attorney will assist with identifying and pursuing possible damages.
Call Parker Waichman LLP Today to Discuss Your Del Monte Claim
At Parker Waichman LLP, our experienced Del Monte Veggie Tray Cyclospora Cayetanensis lawsuit attorneys are prepared to help you with your claim. To schedule your free consultation, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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