Articles Posted in Food Safety

Injuries that occur as a result of food poisoning can give rise to a number of different claims for the harm suffered. Those who seek compensation for personal injuries resulting from the consumption of contaminated food or beverages can assert claims based on negligence, breach of express or implied warranty, violation of food laws, and strict liability.

FlourFor one, individuals can allege breach of warranty claims to recover compensation for their injuries. Breach of warranty claims can include express and implied warranties. For example, Illinois courts have found liability for a breach of an implied warranty of fitness when a manufacturer sold poisoned flour. In order to recover in a breach of warranty claim, there generally must be privity of contract. Privity of contract often requires that the injured person have purchased the goods from the manufacturer. This can include sellers of goods as well, yet courts have been hesitant to extend liability in such cases, particularly if the seller had no way to inspect the goods.

General Mills Expands Recall of Flour

General Mills announced an expansion to its flour recall resulting from a possible E. Coli outbreak. According to one news source, the updated recall covers different varieties of flour of the Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens brands, produced through February of this year. Four new cases were reported, causing the company to expand the recall. The outbreak has already caused illnesses to 46 people throughout 21 states. Thirteen of those people have required hospitalization. One person suffered from kidney failure as a result.

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The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about one in six people get sick from food-borne illnesses each year in the United States. Of these, around 3,000 people die as a result. In recent years, E. Coli outbreaks have become familiar to Americans as they continue to come up in the news, at times causing serious effects for victims.

BacteriaE. Coli is a bacterium that can be transmitted by consuming contaminated food, including unwashed raw produce, undercooked beef, unpasteurized juice, and raw milk. The consumption of contaminated food can result in symptoms, the most common of which is diarrhea. However, in more serious cases, it can cause anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

E. Coli generally lives in cattle, but it can also be found in other livestock. If meat containing E. Coli bacteria is not cooked to 160 degrees, E. Coli bacteria can survive and infect those who consume it. In addition, the meat can affect other food that comes into contact with the infected raw meat. Raw meat is the most likely cause for infection, but it can be transmitted through raw fruits and vegetables, or through raw milk or other dairy products.

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Even when individuals have a valid claim, a lawyer’s missteps can have serious consequences for their clients. In a recent case, a judgment in favor of the defendant could not be revisited because the issue raised on appeal was not raised by the plaintiffs’ lawyer during the trial.

popcorn-1582259The Facts of the Case

A husband and wife filed a lawsuit against makers and distributors of microwave popcorn and butter flavoring. The husband ate microwave popcorn every day for 20 years. They alleged that the products caused him to develop the lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans.

At trial, the experts disagreed about what caused the husband’s sickness. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants had a number of expert witnesses who testified about his sickness and its likely cause. One of the defendant’s experts was a doctor who testified about articles that were not provided to the plaintiffs for review. The plaintiff’s lawyer objected, arguing that the witness could not testify about facts about which the plaintiffs did not have information. He argued that the plaintiffs could not adequately prepare for such testimony, and the testimony was unfair. The judge agreed, and the expert’s testimony was stricken. Accordingly, the judge instructed the jury to ignore the testimony they had heard from the expert. The trial continued, and the jury found in favor of the defendant.

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When families go out to eat, whether for Sunday brunch or a birthday dinner, they expect their food to not only taste good but also be safely prepared. This is true for the fanciest restaurants as well as the fast food restaurant on the corner. It is also true for food purchased at the grocery store or served via home delivery.

berries-02-1544672Unfortunately, however, food is not always as safe as it should be. Sometimes this results in an upset stomach that resolves itself after a couple of days and that a customer may not even attribute to food he or she recently ate. But sometimes food poisoning can cause serious health problems or even death.

One of the more common and well known sources of food contamination is the E. coli bacteria, which lives in the intestines of certain animals. The most common symptoms of E. coli are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. In more serious cases, kidney failure may occur. This most commonly occurs in children and those with compromised immune systems, like the elderly.

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