Foodborne Illness in the United States
More and more frequently, stories of foodborne illnesses populate the news cycles in the United States. You have undoubtedly heard about one or many of these breakouts. Whether it was the temporary shutdown of your favorite Mexican restaurant or the heads of romaine lettuce you were told to pass on for Thanksgiving, foodborne illness reached your life in some form or fashion. For some however, these breakouts carry far graver consequences. The United States Center for Disease Control “estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.”
Foodborne illnesses often result from improper food safety and handling practices. Carelessness and insufficient food safety procedures by restaurants, food processors and even commercial farms can lead to massive food recalls and bacteria breakouts. Unfortunately, most cases of improper food handling or tainted food products are not discovered until consumers suffer the consequences and are diagnosed with foodborne illnesses. Common symptoms of foodborne illness—often referred to as food poisoning—include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. However, symptoms can be more severe and—depending on the type of bacteria—some foodborne illnesses can be life threatening.
Foodborne illness causing germs include:
- Clostridium pefringens
- Eschericia Coli (E. coli)
- Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
Recent food recalls and foodborne illnesses:
- November 2018: Romaine lettuce from regions of Northern and Central California linked to E. coli infections;
- November 2018: Tahini produced by Achdut Ltd. linked to salmonella infections;
- October 2018: Ready-to-eat deli ham produced by Johnson County Hams linked to a multistate outbreak of listeria infections;
- July 2018: Spring Pasta Salad sold at Hy-Vee grocery stores linked to a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections.
- June 2018: Honey Smacks cereal was recalled by the Kellogg Company because the cereal was linked to a multistate breakout of salmonella infections. Any Honey Smacks cereal with a “best if used by” date of June 14, 2019 or earlier should not be eaten.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one is diagnosed with a foodborne illness. An experienced attorney can advise you on the steps to take to hold the responsible parties accountable for the damage they’ve caused. The team at McCartney Stucky has decades of litigation experience and can help you navigate the hurdles of litigating a foodborne illness case.
 Foodborne Illness and Germs, Center for Disease Control, available at https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foodborne-germs.html