Most of us rarely take a close look at what we eat. Manufacturers and the food service industry have a duty to ensure that food supplied to consumers is safe. However, there are instances where food is prepared and distributed in an unsafe manner. This includes contaminated, negligently prepared and food containing pathogens. Illness and even death can result from the consumption of such foods.

According to CDC estimates, each year approximately 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) suffer from food-related illnesses, 128, 000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Food poisoning cases are best handled by an attorney experienced in handling food safety cases.

Who can be held liable in a food poisoning lawsuit?

The FDA publishes the Food Code that regulates the food service industry in different jurisdictions. Any company involved in the production, supply chain, preparation and sale of unsafe food or drink has potential liability for illness or death suffered by the consumer. Depending on the laws of the state, the defendant can be charged with negligence, breach of contract or warranty.

Food Poisoning Attorney, Bill Marler, who specializes in food poisoning cases shares foods he won’t be eating anymore. Some on his “I don’t eat” list will admittedly be tough for many (myself included) to pass up.

Potentially dangerous foods and ways to make consuming them a bit safer.

1. Poultry

Most people will have poultry at least once a day. However, raw and undercooked poultry has a high risk of causing foodborne diseases. This is because their guts and feathers usually have the Campylobacter and Salmonella strains of bacteria. This bacteria contaminates the poultry meat and can only be completely eliminated when the meat is cooked thoroughly.

2. Vegetables and Leafy Greens

Vegetables and leafy greens has incredible health benefits but can cause food poisoning when consumed raw. There has been a number of food poisoning outbreaks associated with the consumption of spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage and celery. This is because they can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli during various stages of the supply chain. This contamination can occur when the vegetables are being grown or from unhygienic processing, and food preparation practices.

3. Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is a delicacy to many. However, it is a common source of poisoning and foodborne diseases. When fish is not stored at the right temperatures it can become contaminated with histamine a toxin that is produced by bacteria in fish. Histamine is not destroyed during cooking and can result in scombroid poisoning that is characterized by swelling of the face and tongue, nausea, and wheezing.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is another type of poisoning associated with contaminated fish . This is caused by the toxin Ciguatoxin which is usually in warm tropical waters.

Shellfish such as mussels, clams, scallops, and oysters consume algae which can build up in their flesh. Though shellfish from stores is usually safe; that from unmonitored areas may not be safe to consume.

4. Deli Meats

This includes bacon, ham, salami and other processed meats. These products can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus during processing and manufacturing. Contamination can occur by contact with contaminated raw meat, contaminated equipment, poor cleaning practices and hygiene.

5. Unpasteurized Dairy

For most of us, breakfast is not complete without dairy products. Pasteurization is a process through which foods are heated at high temperatures to kill harmful microorganisms. Unpasteurized milk products are at least 150 times more likely to cause food poisoning. Consumption of unpasteurized milk products can expose you to E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium and Brucella.

6. Undercooked Eggs

Eggs are a breakfast staple; however, they can carry Salmonella bacteria that can contaminate the inside and the eggshell. If you choose to consume raw eggs, you should choose pasteurized eggs.

7. Pre Cut Fruits

Fruits provide us with essential vitamins. There are some food poisoning cases reported to have been caused by fruit salads. Fruits grown on the ground and especially those of the melon variety have a high risk of causing food poisoning because the Listeria bacteria can grow on the rind and spread to the flesh.

8. Raw Sprouts

There has been a craze in the consumption of nutrition dense sprouts. Sprouts of all kinds including mung bean, alfalfa, and sunflower have a high risk of causing food poisoning. This is because these seeds grow in warm, moist and nutrient-rich conditions which are ideal for the growth of bacterias such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

How do you reduce the risk of food poisoning?

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Check the expiration date
  • Avoid washing raw meat
  • Wash fresh produce
  • Avoid cross-contamination
  • Cook meat thoroughly
  • Refrigerate your food

If you think you have a food poising case, please call our offices and set up a time to discuss your situation. The consultation is FREE.

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