Serious Illnesses Caused by Contaminated Foods
Enjoying dinner out with family and friends at a Florida restaurant is an occasion many look forward to. Hot, freshly prepared meals are what everyone expects, but that is not always the case. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that patrons face a high risk of foodborne illness such as E. coli and salmonella from tainted ingredients or infected food preparers. Those who have consumed contaminated food can suffer from
If this has happened to someone important to you, contact from Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood to speak with a product liability lawyer in Melbourne Florida who can help you to determine if you have a solid case to pursue.
As a product liability lawyer in Melbourne FL is aware, outbreaks of illnesses from contaminated food is an increasingly common occurrence affecting hundreds of people around the country. It is a costly issue and continues to be a major public health concern. CDC statistics show that each year, one in six Americans get sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages.
There is an alphabet soup of over 250 different foodborne diseases that have been identified including listeria, e-Coli, botulism, hepatitis A, and norovirus. They usually take the form of infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites from a foodborne source. Other illnesses are caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated the food.
These diseases cause a variety of symptoms, so there is no particular set of circumstances that make them easily identifiable as foodborne illness. However, because the “microbe” or “toxin” enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract and often causes the first symptoms in that area, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea are typical precursors. Identifying that an outbreak is definitively attributed to foodborne disease is a difficult task for public health authorities. Establishing how a particular disease is spreading is crucial in order for them to take the appropriate steps to stop it.
The Culprits and Causes
Foods most associated with foodborne illness include:
• Raw foods of animal origin are the most likely to be contaminated such as raw meat and poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, and raw shellfish,
• Naturally occurring pathogens in seawater and norovirus from sewage being dumped in the water can contaminate filter-feeding shellfish,
• Foods that combine animal products such as bulk raw milk, pooled raw eggs, or ground beef are hazardous because a pathogen present in any one of the animals may contaminate the entire batch. As is most commonly the case with meat, a pound of ground beef may contain meat from hundreds of animals,
• Raw fruits and vegetables prepared in unsanitary conditions or washed in dirty water have caused outbreaks. Produce fertilized in manure, irrigated with water containing manure or human sewage and unpasteurized fruit juice can also be contaminated if there are pathogens in or on the fruit that is used to make it.
Unfortunately, as a personal injury lawyer Melbourne, FL victims trust can attest, there are many opportunities for food to become contaminated as it is handled and prepared. Foodborne illness such as hepatitis A and norovirus can be introduced from infected humans who handle the food or by cross-contamination from some other raw agricultural product when the same utensils or cutting boards are used between foods without being washed. Food that is fully cooked can become re-contaminated if it touches other raw foods that contain pathogens.
Warm moist conditions are the best breeding grounds for bacteria to multiply. This is why refrigeration and freezing are so important. Disturbingly, there are certain bacteria that can survive even in cold conditions. This is why is it critical for all food to be thoroughly cooked.
Some basic rules to follow to prevent sickness are:
• Checking “use by” dates on products at the grocery store
• Cooking food thoroughly
• Preventing cross-contamination between raw and cooked meats
• Refrigerating leftovers
• Cleaning produce before use
• Reporting suspect foods and patronizing restaurants to the board of health
Let a Melbourne FL Product Liability Lawyer Help
If you have found yourself in a situation where you have become sick due to tainted food, seek medical attention immediately. You should also contact Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood to have a product liability lawyer Melbourne FL clients recommend evaluate your case to see if you have grounds to pursue damages against the establishment where the contaminated food came from.