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Staples, Inc. Under Fire for Distributing Filthy Food to Employees

Executives from Staples, Inc. are probably wishing there was an ‘Easy Button’ to fix this latest conundrum.

Though it’s generally known for retailing office supplies, this week Staples, Inc. came under fire from U.S. health regulators for violating certain distribution practices related to food products stored in a company facility; food that was being provided for employees was kept in unsanitary conditions and was infected with disease. The reprimand was issued following an FDA inspection to one of Staples’ largest facilities, late last year.

Staples, Inc. is an office supply chain conglomerate, and has more than 2000 stores worldwide, spanning 26 countries. It is the largest U.S. office supply retailer, and primarily does business selling provisions, office machines, promotional products, furniture and technology both in stores and online. In 2010 alone, Staples reported revenue of $24 billion.

Nevertheless, according to a recent report by MSNBC, earlier this month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alleged that certain food products intended for distribution to workers have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions and may have become contaminated with filth, or injurious to health. Moreover, the FDA said that rodent waste was found in close vicinity of packages of different food products, including candies, crackers, creamers, pistachios, noodles, and bottled water.

Every Chicago personal injury attorney knows that corporations that manufacture or disseminate food products have a duty to consumers to ensure that products they distribute to the public are safe for human consumption. Ideally, foods should be tested extensively before being put on the market. Because of this duty to customers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates businesses to promote public health, and ensure that companies who manufacture and distribute edible products are compliant with federal safety standards and that those products are safe for human consumption.

In this particular case, however, it appears that Staples, Inc. was simply feeding the contaminated food to its employees. Nevertheless, the corporation is still under a duty to ensure that the food they provide is safe, and when they negligently fail to do so by failing to ensure its cleanliness, they may be held liable for injuries caused by the infected foods.

People who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or death due to illness from contaminated foods may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from those responsible for providing or distributing the food. Damages include such things as lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, and loss of the companionship of a loved one who has died from the illness. Our Illinois food poisoning attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of cases, and understand what it takes to be successful in even the most complicated Illinois food poisoning cases. In fact, our attorneys obtained a $4 million settlement against a hotel chain, on behalf of three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered illness due to a foodborne illness – either from a restaurant, purchased from a store, or provided to you by a company – contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.