Can You Sue for Food Poisoning or Contamination?

A food poisoning accident is anything but fun. It can have serious consequences, causing permanent disability and even death. However, most people do not realize that a number of food poisoning deaths take place each year in the United States. The reason for this is simple – many people take a very lax attitude toward food preparation hygiene. 

man suffering from food poisoning

Cleanliness is essential in every room where food is prepared, eaten, and stored. However, it is particularly important in the kitchen. With an unhygienic kitchen, you run the risk of food poisoning, which can result in severe injury or death. It is therefore vital that every kitchen be kept clean, both from the top down, by the staff that works there and by those who are charged with the responsibility of looking after the premises.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by consuming food or water that has been infected with bacteria. Bacteria can grow rapidly, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, and a general feeling of discomfort. Some bacteria are harmful to humans, but most are safe to eat. Some types of bacteria, however, are poisonous to animals and humans alike. Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Cryptosporidium can grow quickly, causing illness within hours of consumption. Botulism is a more serious threat than most other types of bacteria and it can be deadly. 

Some bacteria are part of a healthy ecosystem. In healthy food, these microorganisms are necessary for digestion. Unfortunately, sometimes bad bacteria overtake healthy bacteria in the process of digestion. This causes an imbalance that results in harmful bacteria proliferating at an abnormal rate, affecting the digestive system. When this happens, the body develops symptoms of illness, rather than acting as a protective measure against harmful elements in the environment. This can then affect the immune system, which serves as the front line of defense against disease-causing bacteria.

What are the Symptoms of Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is not always immediately noticeable. It can take hours or even days for symptoms to appear, and sometimes they never do. That is why it is so important to quickly report any suspected food poisoning to your local authorities, as there is a great risk of serious illness developing from food contamination. In the United States, we are terribly vulnerable to food contamination because the majority of our population relies on store-bought foods for their nutrition. The food industry uses a large number of chemicals and preservatives in the production of food products, which can be hard to detect.

Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and cramps. Sometimes, patients may also suffer from fever, chills, and other cold-like symptoms. If the food is ingested by an elderly person, severe respiratory distress has been reported. Although food poisoning is not considered to be a serious condition, it can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. In some cases, food poisoning results in death, especially if the person is allergic to certain foods. Others, however, survive the ordeal because of strong medication or timely medical treatment.

How Should Restaurants and Food Preparers Prevent Food Poisoning Accidents?

Hygiene in the kitchen can be quite easily addressed. In fact, it is not even necessary to purchase new kitchen equipment. A simple cleaning regime will keep food poisoning out of most places. In fact, by law, restaurants are required to follow a strict cleaning regime. However, when they get lax on these processes, it can have disastrous results for customers who consume their food. This explains how restaurants are supposed to prevent food-borne illnesses:

The first step is to remove all food from both the cooking area and the serving area. This is usually the hardest part of the cleaning process, as it involves removing all the food from sight, and most people are likely to forget to do this. 

The second step is to sterilize surfaces, equipment, and containers. Food contamination starts off with bacteria and viruses, so it is important to maintain good hygiene practices during food preparation and storage. Clean every surface, and wipe down the surfaces and appliances with a disinfectant. For example, washing utensils and cutting boards between uses with bleach is an excellent idea. Similarly, you should wipe down cooking utensils and plates with hot soapy water, as this will kill any bacteria lingering on them. Never leave leftover food on hot surfaces, as it will just breed more bacteria.

Next, you need to check the level of contamination in the food. You should never re-store food that has been contaminated. Food contamination occurs mainly due to cross-contamination. You should also remember to store food properly and avoid storing food that is generally served raw in the fridge near food items that must be cooked before serving (i.e. never store raw chicken and raw vegetables near each other).

Other tips that restaurants should follow include:

  • Do not use wooden ware when preparing food. Instead, use plastic ware or a stainless steel bowl. 
  • Ensure that you clean the affected area immediately after a food poisoning accident. You can either hire a professional or take advantage of available resources on the Internet.
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly whenever you handle raw food, to make sure that contamination does not enter your system.

Most states require that businesses and employees have to undergo mandatory food handling and safety training before they can process food. Another good thing to do is check out Florida’s Department of Health website to search for food establishments that have had violations.

What is a Food and Health Inspector?

Food and health inspectors are the ones who are qualified to detect any type of contamination in foods and identify unsafe practices by food processors and restaurants. They check for pathogens, bacteria, parasites, and any other types of microorganisms that may lurk in every type of food. The pathogens can come from anywhere – animals, plants, fungi, bugs, and other microorganisms. 

When you decide to purchase food from a restaurant, it is important that you take note of their health inspection safety rating. Most places are required to keep their health inspection in the window or other conspicuous area of the establishment. Anything other than an “A” rating means the establishment was recently in violation of food safety procedures mandated by law.

What is Food Contamination?

Food contamination refers to the existence of harmful microorganisms and chemicals in food, that may cause severe consumer harm. This is a very serious issue and one that should not be taken lightly. This is especially true in the area of food safety and hygiene. 

In fact, food safety and hygiene are a big concern these days because of food-borne illnesses. These illnesses have been responsible for thousands of deaths, and this is due to the lack of knowledge and ability of people to keep their foods safe and hygienic. 

What are Common Sources of Food Contamination?

Sources of food contamination can be anywhere from animals to fruits, vegetables, and meats. You may never know what has gone wrong until you try to consume the contaminated food. The most common source of food contamination is from animals. This could include food that comes from animals, such as pork, beef, dairy, chicken, and fish. Bacteria and parasites can also contaminate food. These parasites and bacteria may survive the trip through your digestive tract and find their way into your bloodstream, leading to various types of infections and ailments.

Contamination of food by chemicals is another common source of food contamination. This can range from minor contamination such as coloring to a very serious problem such as lead poisoning. Chemical contamination can occur during various production or transportation methods. For example, produce that is not properly cleaned before consumption may mean you’re ingesting pesticides or animal excrement. Another example is workers at a processing plant who did not properly rinse cleaning agents off of machinery before restarting production.

Of all the different sources of food contamination, the most common is in the processing of food. For example, contamination with listeria can occur in the manufacturing of sausage, hot dogs, salami, bacon, and other pre-made foods. Foods that are made of meat can be contaminated with the bacteria from the animals it comes from. There have been outbreaks of food poisoning caused by the consumption of unprocessed meats in the past.

What is the Difference Between Food Contamination and Food Poisoning?

The most important and common distinction between food contamination and food poisoning is that the latter is typically caused by the former. Food may be contaminated, but it does not always lead to food poisoning. However, food poisoning is always caused by food contamination. In both cases, the problem lies with various types of bacteria or fungus. Both events are relatively serious matters that lead to serious consequences.

While food contamination isn’t the only reason people get sick, it is by far the most common reason. In fact, according to the US Department of Agriculture, food poisoning claims nearly 20% of all hospital admissions. Recognizing the difference between food poisoning and food contaminants can help you prevent food-borne illness and help keep your family healthy. If you suspect that your food may be contaminated, always read the label and don’t assume that just because it says “natural” that is safe.

What are Common Sources of Food Poisoning?

Sources of food poisoning are all things that can potentially harm your body. From animal products to processed foods, to the ingredients in breakfast cereal… these are the things that we put into our mouths and they can cause us some serious harm. With a little education and common sense, you can avoid some of the risks.

The three major sources of food poisoning are animal products, plant-based foods, and food that has been improperly stored or processed. Although animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and shellfish are generally safe, plant-based foods can be contaminated with feces from animals and even plants themselves. Fish contain mercury, which is also dangerous to ingest; therefore fish should always be consumed in moderation and you should understand the source of the fish.

Animal Products

Animal products include meat, poultry, fish, and other animal by-products. Raw meat can harbor bacteria and may cause an illness similar to food poisoning. Be sure to carefully read any label on raw meat, as there may be information available on the food’s source. Raw chicken and pork should be cooked promptly after purchase. 

Fish: This is a category of food that is especially important to keep clean, especially if you are planning to cook it. Raw fish should not be stored, and cooked fish should be eaten immediately. Raw shellfish should also be avoided, since they may contain toxic levels of mercury. Chicken and eggs should also be consumed in moderation since they too can become contaminated. Other animal products such as milk, eggs, and butter can also carry potentially harmful levels of toxins.

Milk: One of the best-known sources of food poison is dairy products. Many kinds of cheese, ice cream, and other dairy-based products are likely to give you food poisoning, so it is important to read the labels carefully and look for the words “pasteurized” and “homemade.”

Plant-Based Products

Plant-based foods include vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The types of plant material that can be contaminated with various types of toxins and bacteria. Vegetables and fruits are some of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods, and they are also some of the most common sources of food poison.

Just as you need to be careful about which foods you eat, you also need to be careful about how produce is prepared and stored in the fridge. A steady diet of fresh produce can go a long way toward keeping your family healthy, but only if the produce itself isn’t contaminated. So, if you suspect that your fridge is teeming with harmful bacteria or that you have accidentally purchased rotten fruit from your local store, you should either throw out the produce (which probably has disease-causing bacteria).

Improperly Stored or Processed Food Items

If possible, make your own food from scratch and avoid commercially prepared foods that have had meat or plant material added to them. To be safe, whenever possible, avoid eating any product that has been sitting on a store shelf for more than twenty-four hours. When buying produce, be sure to check the expiry date on the packaging cartons; this will help to ensure that you obtain fresh, quality produce for your family. When at home, use a covered container to store cooked meat; do not let the meat come in direct contact with food that is in the refrigerator.

What is the Average Food Poisoning Settlement?

Food poisoning cases are quite common. They happen in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and public places. Each year, thousands of people are affected by this type of accident. The number of reported cases is increasing every year.

However, cases will differ from one company to another. The process of the settlement will vary according to the law firm you choose. There are many attorneys who don’t offer fast settlement but their services are always considered highly efficient. In order to receive your full claim, you should ask an experienced attorney to handle your case.

Food and beverage liabilities are generally classified as medical or non-medical under laws framed by the US Department of Justice. The foodservice industry is the largest source of liability claims. The most common types of cases filed are for injuries, property damage, or death caused by tainted products. To receive an average settlement, victims should be able to prove that they suffered damages as a direct result of the negligence of the defendant. Commonly, victims receive smaller settlements if they can prove the defendant’s liability to some degree.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party involved in the food manufacturing process, your personal injury lawyer will need information from witnesses and medical personnel. This information will be crucial in determining the amount of compensation to be given to you. Witness testimony will help determine whether you were exposed to harmful levels of bacteria. Medical examinations will determine the extent of the injury and will establish the nature of the injury. These records will also serve as evidence for the defense in any court proceedings.

Compensation for this type of claim can be awarded in a lump sum or through monthly payments over a period of time. The courts assign an adjuster to each case and determine the outcome of the case. In some cases, your settlement may be covered by insurance policies. However, if the insurance company determines that the injuries are not the direct fault of the defendant, then your claim would be disqualified.

Usually, there are two ways to receive this sum: through personal injury court proceedings or through commercial arbitration. Arbitration is usually reserved for cases involving severe and permanent disability. Most cases settle for less because the defendant can’t deny the facts of the case and admit liability.

Should I Hire a Food Poisoning Attorney?

When you are suspecting food poisoning, it is important that you take immediate action. This is where hiring a lawyer would be advantageous for you. A lawyer would be able to give you a better understanding of what to do. It is important that you act fast once you suspect the onset of food poisoning. So you shouldn’t waste any time or hesitate while making the decision.

Even when you are unsure of the legalities involved, it is still best to hire a lawyer. This is because you never know how things would turn out. With a lawyer, you can rest assured that you can be protected from these unforeseen events. In addition, a food-poisoning lawyer can give you better advice on how to proceed with the case. This can be done through different methods that can fit your budget.

There is no reason why you should not hire a lawyer to help you deal with this case. The law firm of Darrigo & Diaz has experienced food poisoning lawyers that specialize in this type of law. We can provide a free consultation where we will discuss your case in confidence. For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case, contact us 24/7 by calling (813) 774-3341 to discuss your legal options right over the phone.

DARRIGO & DIAZ IS READY TO HELP

Call now, or complete the form below to request a free consultation.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
What Our Clients Are Saying