When growing up and becoming a young adult and learning to cook, many of us may remember lectures and lessons from our parents about how to properly handle the food we consume and handle, particularly in preparation. During those family meal preparations and cooking as a group, you probably heard a lot about clean surfaces, washing your hands before and after touching raw meats, and thoroughly heating our foods until they were an even color. Many of us were taught this especially regarding chicken. It’s a favorite food to many families and is consumed in pastas, salads, and sandwiches but does indeed require safety knowledge.
However, consider what if even when you have this wealth of knowledge about cooking that you learned and applied these skills that you could still be in harm’s way. This can in fact happen by no fault of the consumer, but due to negligence of the grocer or distributor. When these parties fail to inspect a food for contamination, improperly handle it as to cause it to spoil, or fail to remove the products from the stream of commerce and customers suffer injury and illness, they can be held liable under products liability law.
According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, within the past 16 months more than 500 people in the U.S. have become sick due to salmonella linked to Foster Farms’ chicken. Federal officials have linked the company to an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. Foster Farms has issued a product recall and said that the recall affects 170 products sold in 11 different states under both its brand and the store brands Kroger and Safeway. For the most part these products should have “use or freeze by” dates of no later than March 31, but USDA officials fear that the products could still be in the hands and homes of consumers. Since March of last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified 621 people in the country who have become sick from the salmonella known as Heidelberg. Of these people, 36% have needed hospitalization.