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Infected Cantaloupe Toll Reaches 146 Sickened, 30 Dead

In September, our Chicago food poisoning attorneys expressed concern about the recall issued for cantaloupe melons infected with Listeria Monocytogenes. According to MSNBC, government officials recently released a final count of the damage caused by the infected fruits: 146 sick, 30 dead, and a miscarriage.

Listeria Monocytogenes is a potentially fatal food poisoning bacterium that causes a condition called Listerosis; according to a report published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Biology, though Lysteria Monocytogenes is a fairly uncommon disease, when a severe form of the infection takes hold, the case fatality rate may approach as much as 25% (Salmonella poisoning, in comparison, has a mortality rate estimated at less than 1%).

Listeriosis affects mainly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with lowered immune system, and when pregnant women are infected with Listeria Monocytogenes the infection can result in premature delivery, miscarriages, or stillbirth, as happened in this case.

The Listeria bacteria are generally found in uncooked meats, processed foods, and other foods derived from animal products. Although the bacteria does not generally affect fresh produce, because the skin of cantaloupes is rough and porous, they became contaminated during handling, and from being grown in and on contaminated soil, where the bacteria became lodged in the melon’s rind.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the injuries from infections spanned 28 states – all stemming from Jensen Farms, an American fruit producer and distributer. 310,000 cases of potentially tainted cantaloupes were shipped across the country, so it is fortunate that more persons were not harmed as a result of the contaminated fruit.

When food manufacturers put products on the market that are intended for human consumption, those companies are responsible for ensuring that those products are safe. A Chicago personal injury attorney knows that when dangerous or infected products cause injuries to consumers, the companies who produced them may be held legally responsible for the injuries they cause, including hospital and related expenses, loss of a normal life, and, in cases of deaths caused by the diseased food, the loss of companionship of a loved one.

According to 2010 estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 48 million people are sickened each year by a foodborne illness; of those, more than 125,000 people require hospitalization and 3,000 die after consuming contaminated fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and processed foods in their homes or in restaurants.

Because of this particular outbreak, Jensen Farms will likely be held responsible for all the damaged caused to consumers.

Food poisoning illnesses can be devastating. Our Illinois personal injury lawyers have experience representing clients in similar cases, including a $4 million settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.

A doctor will be able to determine if you have been infected by a foodborne illness. If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of contaminated food, either from a restaurant or a retail store, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.