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Food Safety – What To Do If You Ate Unsafe Food

Food Safety What To Do If You Ate Unsafe Food

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year one in six Americans (48 million people) contracts a foodborne illness. Of these, 128,000 experience symptoms that are severe enough to lead to hospitalization, and around 3,000 die of their illness. In recent years, E. coli-contaminated leafy green vegetables, as well as salmonella-tainted beef and chicken, have made frequent appearances in the headlines, resulting in a number of recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this article, I’ll recount recent food recalls and explain what to do if you’re concerned that you’re experiencing food poisoning, as well as when it may be appropriate to contact a New Jersey product liability attorney.

What Causes Food Poisoning?

Technically, any food that is ill-prepared, incorrectly stored, or contaminated by bacteria (even before you cook it), can cause food poisoning.

However, some foods are more likely to cause illness than others. Undercooked meat, eggs, and seafood, raw sprouts and other vegetables, and unpasteurized milk and juice are more likely to make you sick. This is even more true if you have a health issue that compromises your immune system, or if you are over 65 or under five years old.

Incorrect or unsanitary food preparation and storage is another common cause, but there are many things you can do to prevent this from happening. First, always wash your hands and work surfaces before you prepare food, as well as during and after. Second, always separate raw meat and eggs from foods that are ready to eat. Third, make sure to cook food to the appropriate internal temperature to ensure all bacteria are killed before eating. And finally, keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees or below, and refrigerate all leftovers within two hours of cooking.

Recent Food Poisoning Headlines

Unfortunately, there are many occasions where it is impossible to know that something you’re about to eat will make you sick. So far in 2024, we have seen multiple cases of foodborne outbreaks affecting states across the U.S. On February 28, the CDC posted news of an outbreak of E. coli linked to raw cheddar cheese. Just two weeks prior, they announced a Listeria outbreak connected to queso fresco and cotija cheese. That same week, a salmonella outbreak was linked to charcuterie meats. In 2023, a variety of outbreaks occurred in connection with raw cookie dough, fresh peaches and cantaloupe, ice cream, and leafy greens. As we can see from the variety of foods in this list, it is extremely challenging to predict when or if a specific food could cause an outbreak.

However, that does not mean that no one is to blame if you become seriously ill after eating a specific food, especially if it was recalled. In this case, the company, manufacturer, or grocery store may be liable for your injuries. If you are unsure whether or not you could have a lawsuit, working with a product liability attorney serving Northern New Jersey may be in your best interest.

What To Do If You Are Experiencing Food Poisoning

While you may not always be able to prevent yourself from coming into contact with contaminated food, you do have control over how you respond if you think you have purchased or consumed food that is linked to foodborne illness. First, check the CDC alerts page and determine the specific brand or location where the food was sold. Do not continue to eat this particular food, and note whether you are experiencing the symptoms of severe food poisoning, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever greater than 102 degrees
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • An inability to keep liquids down
  • Dizziness
  • Infrequent urination
  • Other signs of severe dehydration

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. If you have the container the suspected food came in, keep it so that you can report this to your local health agencies or to an attorney if necessary. If you must be hospitalized, this can be incredibly costly, and it can be worth it to get in touch with a product liability lawyer in New Jersey. A good attorney can help you recover compensation from the liable party.

When To Contact An Attorney

If you or a loved one has experienced hospitalization, extreme illness, or death after eating contaminated food, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney. Buttafuoco & Associates has successfully handled many product liability cases and we may be able to help you recover the compensation you need to make a full recovery from your illness. We can tell you during a free consultation whether or not you have a case, or you can complete our online case review form.

To discuss your potential case with a qualified product liability attorney, get in touch with us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.


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