Articles Posted in Food Poisoning

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Recently a Hepatitis A outbreak has been linked to contaminated frozen berries sold in grocery stores. The frozen berry mix was identified as a berry and pomegranate mix that was sold at a couple different retail stores including Costco. The outbreak affected people in 7 different states in total and at the time of the story had made 79 people sick by exposing them to Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a disease that causes a very serious and even fatal form of liver disease. When it is found in food it is likely caused by the food preparer handling the food with dirty hands.

When the outbreak initially occurred, health officials were worried that the disease would be spread to a number of children, since frozen berries are used in a bunch of treats that are common for children, including smoothies and ice popsicles.

Surprisingly, once more people became infected it became clear that children were actually not the ones likely to be infected during this particular outbreak. Of the 79 reported cases, only one case involved a young child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credits this surprising statistic to childhood vaccinations. Routine childhood vaccinations currently (since 2006) always offer protection against Hepatitis A. The CDC’s thought was further supported by the fact that the only child that was infected by this outbreak was a young boy who had not had routine vaccinations.

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Illnesses from food poisoning can be alarming, but perhaps even more terrifying are cases in which you don’t even have to eat the food to be sickened by it; in those types of situations, identifying the contaminated product and holding the negligent company can prove to be even more difficult.

Fortunately, however, a number of cases of a recent potentially deadly outbreak have been linked back to a particular source: dog food.

According to a recent article on MSNBC, Diamond Pet Foods, a U.S.-based commercial pet food manufacturer, has expanded a recall of its dry dog food, taking precautionary steps after several of its brands were linked to an outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella poisoning that infected at least 14 people in nine states. The common link between all of the victims were that they had dogs or dog foods prior to their illness.

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In March of this year, our Chicago personal injury lawyers and the entire country were disgusted by the prospect of “pink slime,” a meat product consisting of bits of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors, that is treated with ammonium-hydroxide, a chemical generally used for window-cleaning and furniture-making.

Illinois product liability law requires that when corporations put a product on the market, they are responsible for ensuring that the product is safe for consumer use. This is especially true for food manufacturers whose merchandise has to be thoroughly inspected before it is allowed to be distributed to the public. When dangerous or contaminated foods harm consumers, the corporations may be liable for the injuries caused and may be legally responsible for damages caused by those injuries. This may give rise to an Illinois personal injury lawsuit. Nevertheless, using small amounts of ammonia to make food is more common than originally understood.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are concerned for the well being of consumers who have been unwittingly consuming the chemical; exposure to high levels of ammonia can cause irritation and serious burns on the skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes, and in some cases may lead to death. Though eating a single portion of the foods made with ammonia won’t in and of itself lead to poisoning, if an individual consumes a high number of affected foods, serious health effects could potentially arise.

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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.

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You certainly wouldn’t want to feed it to your kids. At least, not on purpose.

According to an article published last week by the Associated Press, school districts around the country are serving to school children hamburgers that contain as much as 15 percent of a processed product that has come to be known as “pink slime.”

What is “pink slime?” As per the Associated Press‘ recent report, it’s a product that consists of bits of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors, and that is treated with a pink chemical to kill any dangerous pathogens. Moreover, according to an earlier report by MSNBC, the pink goo is widely used in the food industry as an anti-microbial agent in meats and as a leavener in bread and cake products. Despite the fact that the U.S. Agriculture Department classifies it as “generally recognized as safe,” before it is served to children, it is treated with ammonium-hydroxide, a chemical generally used for window-cleaning and furniture-making.

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Earlier this year, our Chicago personal injury lawyers reflected on the potential dangers caused by consuming raw milk. However, according to a study published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the danger is even worse than originally thought.

A recent report by MSNBC, detailing the findings of the CDC’s investigation revealed that the rate of food-poisoning outbreaks caused by unpasteurized, or raw, milk and dairy products is more than 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

In many cases, before milk is sold to consumers, it undergoes a process known as pasteurization, which involves heating milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds for the purpose of sanitizing the milk. Although the CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say that pathogens from raw milk make it unsafe for people to consume, some organizations argue that, because farm sanitation has greatly improved, raw milk can now be produced hygienically. Nevertheless, many outbreaks stem from raw milk products produced at seemingly hygienic farms.

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Every Chicago personal injury attorney knows that corporations who manufacture food products have a duty to consumers to ensure that products they sell to the public are safe for human consumption. Ideally, foods should be tested extensively before being put on the market. However, when infected, or unsafe foodstuffs are sold to consumers, and those foods cause injury, the companies may be held liable for the damages caused by those injuries, and an Illinois personal injury lawsuit may arise.

According to MSNBC, Organic Pastures Dairy Company, a popular American dairy corporation is currently under quarantine because its raw milk products were recalled after milk infected with E. Coli sent three children to the hospital. The company otherwise sells 2,400 gallons of raw milk per day, but will stay under quarantine until it is found to have met all state sanitation requirements.

Often, before milk is marketed to consumers, it undergoes a process known as pasteurization, which involves heating milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds for the purpose of sanitizing the milk. Although the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say that pathogens from raw milk make it unsafe for people to consume, some organizations argue that, because farm sanitation has greatly improved, raw milk can now be produced hygienically.

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Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is waiting for the results of tests conducted on a batch of powdered infant formula, Wal-Mart has voluntarily removed the product from the shelves in more that 3,000 stores across the country after a newborn baby who consumed the product died from a rare infection.

According to the Associated Press, within the last month a second infant fell ill after consuming the powdered baby formula, but that child recovered, state health officials said. Still, the potential for infection is frightening.

“We decided it was best to remove the product until we learn more,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee. The corporation manufacturing the formula is Mead Johnson Nutrition, a company based out of Chicago suburb, Glenview, Illinois. In 2009, Mead Johnson reported global sales of $2.83 billion, largely stemming from its flagship product Enfamil. The product is not exclusive to Wal-Mart.

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Our Illinois personal injury attorneys were interested to read an article published by MSNBC detailing the first wave of settlements that have been obtained against Wright County Egg, an egg production corporation whose consumers fell victim to extreme salmonella poisoning as a result of consuming Wright County Egg products.

Wright County Egg, as a company, is one of the top ten egg producers in the United States. The corporation used to be run under the name DeCoster Egg Farms, and this is not the company’s first brush with the law. In the 1990s, the business faced litigation based on having hired illegal immigrant workers, and in 2010, company executives pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after it was found that the egg-laying hens were forced to endure inhumane conditions. Additionally, later in 2010, the company recalled 380 million eggs due to salmonella contamination; this latest infraction gave rise to dozens of personal injury lawsuits.

Salmonella contamination can arise from a number of sources, but commonly comes from such sources as infected food, poor kitchen hygiene, bodily fluids from sick individuals, and polluted water. Typical symptoms of Salmonella poisoning generally present in the form of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within six to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. In more serious cases, victims may develop symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting that can last up to a week.

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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.