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Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Affect Many Retailers at the Same Time

Although ostensibly unrelated, our Chicago personal injury attorneys were concerned to read that a number of food products have just been recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of contamination by Listeria Monocytogenes. The foods are produced by a number of different manufacturers and companies but the risks of foodborne illnesses are the same across the board.

Manufacturers of all types of consumer goods are responsible for ensuring that the products they distribute to the public are safe for human use; this is even truer with regard to corporations that produce foods, because food products must undergo extensive testing to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. When dangerous or defective products cause injuries, illnesses, or death – in this case, contaminated food – an Illinois personal injury lawsuit may arise, and the corporations who manufacture the products may be held legally responsible for the injuries that result.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys know the risks: In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report estimating that each year roughly 48 million people are sickened by a foodborne illness. Of those, 125,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 die after consuming contaminated foods purchased from retail stores or restaurants.

Listeria Monocytogenes is a potentially deadly type of food poisoning bacteria that causes a condition called Listerosis. 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. Additionally, if a pregnant woman is exposed to contaminated food during pregnancy, the child can be born with Listeriosis.

According to a report published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Biology, though Lysteria 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%).

Symptoms of Listerosis include fever, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, and other flu-like symptoms. If the bacteria are allowed to spread to the central nervous system, the individual may experience symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or even convulsions.

The FDA recalled Flying Food Group’s Turkey Quarter Pounder sandwiches and Turkey Quarter Pounder sandwiches with Tomatoes because of infection. Additionally, Fair Oaks Dairy has also recalled half pound retail packaged cheeses and cheese gift boxes produced under the Fair Oaks Farms Fine Cheese label due to Listeria contamination; that particular recall especially affects products distributed in Illinois. The Golden Glen Creamery also voluntarily recalled butter distributed to Whole Foods Markets across the country. In addition, Flowers Foods, an American producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods has pulled loaves of its Nature’s Own Butterbread from shelves due to Listeria infection. Moreover, both King & Prince Seafood Corporation and TransOcean Products, Inc. have recalled contaminated Salmon products. These products have the potential to cause serious harm to customers, and if infections or death do occur, the companies may be held liable.

Each of these products was manufactured by a different corporation and at a different facility, but each has the potential to be extremely harmful to consumers. The fact that so many separate outbreaks of Listeria occurred in such a short time is an enormous cause for concern. If you have purchased any of these products, throw them away immediately, or return them to a retail store for a full refund.

A doctor will be able to diagnose if you have been infected with Listeria, and if caught in time, Listerosis is treatable. However, special laws are in place to protect consumers from dangerous or defective products, and an attorney may be able to advise you of your rights under the law.