Articles Posted in Food Poisoning

A few days ago, our Illinois personal injury attorneys contemplated the abject horror of a situation in which moldy applesauce was reprocessed and repackaged for sale to consumers. Following these findings by the FDA, reports have surfaced that Snokist, the liable food manufacturer of applesauce, isn’t the only company engaging in this kind of behavior.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys were very concerned to hear that, according to MSNBC, “reworking” imperfect, mislabeled and even contaminated foods into edible goods to be sold to consumers is so common that virtually all producers do it, at least to some extent.

But who is regulating the health of these products? To some extent, FDA regulations do permit foods to be reconditioned. Allowing companies to do this can avoid both waste and expense, but in reality, these practices are tolerated for an entirely different purpose: certain levels of expected contaminants are tolerated, simply because a zero-tolerance standard would be impossible to meet, officials said.

The FDA has what’s known as “default action levels,” which are the levels at which food is no longer acceptable to be put on the market. However, so long as food products remain below that point, they may be sold to consumers for consumption. For instance, an average of 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs per 8 ounces of macaroni or noodle products is considered acceptable, an average of 20 or more maggots of any size is permitted per 3.5 ounces of drained canned mushrooms, and an average count of 15 percent is tolerated for canned cranberry sauce, according to MSNBC.

Sometimes, however, the inclusions may not be so repugnant: mislabeled flavors of ice cream have been mixed into other flavors of ice cream to avoid waste, and pastas may be ground down to be used in producing breakfast cereals. Nevertheless, no matter the way in which food is reprocessed, the end product must be safe for human consumption.

There are some contaminants and inclusions that just can’t be fixed. In particular, mold – which was the culpable impurity in the reprocessed applesauce – is very difficult to remove from food products, no matter how much, or at what temperature, the food is reprocessed. And as per MSNBC‘s report, the FDA investigated a case in which a seafood manufacturing corporation with faulty bathroom practices led to dissemination of a canned crab product that contaminated fecal E. coli bacteria. Although heat-treating would have eradicated the live germs, there is no way to get rid of the remnants of human waste.
Continue reading ›

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were concerned to hear that the FDA has recently recalled Gentes Foods Gordita Black Bean Tortillas due to possible health risks to consumers.

As per the FDA’s statement, United Natural Foods, Inc. is recalling tortillas manufactured under their brand of Gentes Foods because they have the portential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is a soil bacterium that can lead to Botulism poisoning in humans.

Botulism poisoning is a rare, but very serious, paralytic illness. One of the ways in which humans can be infected with botulism poisoning is by ingestion of the toxin on contaminated foods; however, once a person is infected, the disease does not transfer from person to person. When an individual is infected with botulism, symptoms typically present in a paralysis that begins with the muscles of the face and gradually spreads to the limbs. In the most deadly form of the disease, botulism leads to paralysis of muscles used for breathing, and eventually the victim may die of respiratory failure. Additionally, if the infected individual is unable to exhale, he or she may die of brain failure as a result of being able to expel the carbon dioxide.

The FDA recently released a report regarding a voluntary recall of tins of Rich Fields Butter Cookies sold at Rite Aid retail stores.

Rite Aid is an American chain of drugstores that span across the United States. The Rite Aid Corporation heads approximately 4,700 stores across 31 states, and Rite Aid is the third-largest drugstore chain in the United States.

According to the FDA’s statement, Rite Aid has initiated a voluntary chain-wide recall of approximately 85,000 tins of butter cookies distributed by Rite Aid under the Rich Fields brand name, because of the possibility of contamination with Bacillus cereus.

Last week, a deadly E.coli outbreak hit the media and many were questioning who and/or what caused this awful product liability. You may have heard a lot about E.coli, but our Chicago personal injury attorneys realize that many people may not know that it is an infection that is caused by Escherichia coli bacteria that resides in the intestine. It is most often caused due to undercooked beef, but outbreaks can also occur where unhealthy eating habit is practiced or when food or water contaminated with that bacteria is consumed. Signs and symptoms of E.coli include bloody diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting, fever, bloating, and loss of appetite.
Continue reading ›

While we frequently address the product liability and Chicago wrongful death that our readers need to be aware of when they leave their home, we do not always discuss the dangers within your home that can be caused by simple oversight. You childproof your home to avoid dangerous injuries to your children caused by product liability. You make sure your teens do not drive while texting and you get check-ups for your family to keep them healthy. Additionally, you will want to pass these food safety tips onto the family cook.

There are steps that you can take to prevent personal injuries caused by foodborne illness. Wash your hands frequently. Nothing helps to prevent passing on germs like getting into the habit of frequent hand washing, especially while cooking. Keep your cutting board clean. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can be found on cutting boards that have been used. Be extremely careful to keep your cutting board clean. Keep one cutting board for meats and a second for fruits and vegetables. Additionally, use the dishwasher to clean a plastic cutting board and a scrubber on a wooden one. When you have leftovers, you should put them into the refrigerator no longer than two hours after serving the meal. While you’re near your refrigerator, also check the interior temperature of your refrigerator to make sure that it is not higher than 40 degrees and the freezer is at an even 0 degrees. Finally, do not hesitate to buy and use a meat thermometer. These are not reserved for only Thanksgiving day turkey!

Read more about avoiding salmonella poisoning by visiting The Chicago Sun-Times.

The New York Times addressed that the United States government is now focusing on the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The use of antibiotics to health animals is routine on large, concentrated farms that dominate American agriculture. However, the practice is now increasingly condemned by medical experts who state that there is food safety issues with the use of antibiotics with farm animals. Medical experts are warning that the antibiotics contribute to a growing scourge of modern medicine – the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including dangerous E. coli strains that account for millions of bladder infections every year, as well as resistant types of salmonella poisoning and other microbes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now appears to be poised to issue its strongest guidelines on animal antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk to human health. The guidelines are voluntary and will not have the binding force of regulations. The guidelines would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians. The final announcement from the FDA is expected within months, which coincides with increasing attacks against so-called factory farming.

The antibiotics used in farm animals and their effect on the food products that we eat are a serious issue. As the Chicago product liability lawyers at Levin & Perconti are well-aware, salmonella poisoning and food product issues regularly result in many personal injuries. Just earlier this summer, the Chicago Tribune reported that several people received Illinois personal injuries after a salmonella food poisoning outbreak a the Skokie Country Club.

The Food Safety Bill is currently bogged down in the United States Senate; however, advocates against unsafe food products are urging its quick passage. There is widespread knowledge and understanding that the Food Safety Bill is long overdue and common sense; moreover, it is needed to finally update our country’s horse-and-buggy-era food safety laws. Among several food safety measures, the Food Safety Bill would require annual inspections for high-risk processing facilities, improve oversight of food imported from other countries, and significantly improve “tracebacks,” a method of figuring out contaminated products’ locations, before our country’s consumers digest them.

One prickly point of the Food Safety Bill involves a controversial amendment to ban bisphenol-A (“BPA”). Some advocates are asking senators to reject the amendment because it is jeopardizing the bill’s passage; these advocates suggest that BPA should be dealt with separately. Advocates against unsafe food products, including product liability lawyers, are familiar with BPA. BPA is an organic compound used to make plastics and resins in addition to other applications. It has been known to contain estrogen since the 1930s and concerns about BPA’s use in consumer products have been regularly reported. Reports of the dangers of BPA surfaced frequently in 2008 after several governments issued reports questioning its product safety and prompting some retailers to remove products containing BPA from their shelves. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised further product liability concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants, and young children. Some health effects that were raised in reports on BPA included that it may lead to increased obesity, neurological issues, and thyroid function problems. Thus, advocates are torn about the BPA amendment to the Food Safety Bill; on one hand, the bill should be passed ASAP. But, on the other hand, is this the legislature’s best chance to put a halt to the use of BPA?

Follow the link to read more about the Food Safety bill.

It has been roughly a year since House Democrats and Republicans approved legislation aimed to improve food safety. Now, public health advocates concerned about recent food safety recalls are growing frustrated that the United States Senate has yet to take up the bill. The Washington Post reports that a coalition of food safety groups tried to turn up the pressure last week on the leaders in the Senate, running newspaper ads featuring constituents who fell seriously ill from food poisoning and urging the leaders to move the bill to the Senate floor and to pass the bill.

Last week, President Obama addressed in a statement his support for the passage of the food safety bill. President Obama added that the bill provides the government the tools it needs to ensure food safety. The food safety bill would be the first major change to food safety law in 70 years and would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greater regulatory authority regarding food production. Additionally, it places the responsibility where it belongs – on the manufacturers and farmers to produce food free from product contamination.

As the Chicago product liability attorneys at Levin & Perconti are aware, the legislation comes after a series of food-borne illnesses over the past four years. You can remember that the food recalls have included various products, such as spinach and cookie dough, and have generally made Illinois and U.S. consumers weary about food safety. In fact, just yesterday – USA Today reported that close to one in twenty five outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in restaurants and delis can be traced to contaminated, freshly-made salsa or guacamole!

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that two people remain hospitalized and several more are recovering from Illinois personal injuries after a salmonella food poisoning outbreak at the Skokie Country Club in the suburb of Glencoe in Illinois. Cook County health officials are still investigating the nature and cause of the Illinois salmonella outbreak. While the Department acknowledged that finding the source of the outbreak is unlikely, they will continue to investigate.

According to MayoClinic.com, there are more than 2,000 varieties of salmonella bacteria, but only a dozen of them cause personal injuries in people. Most of the illnesses fall under “gastroenteritis,” but some can result in typhoid fever. Salmonella-induced gastroenteritis is most often caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. Signs and symptoms may include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches, muscle pains, or blood in the stool. Infants, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for more severe illness.

In the case of the Illinois salmonella infections, the Department of Health has updated the number of those hospitalized due to salmonella to eight; six have been discharged. There have been 37 confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning and the Department has received reports of symptoms in 50 other cases. The kitchen of the country club remains closed since the outbreak began June 12.

The Illinois product liability attorneys at Levin & Perconti realize that our readers are likely worrying about whether the lettuce they have bought is safe to eat, due to the recent E. coli outbreak and recalls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded the E. coli outbreak to four states – the outbreak involves potentially deadly food-borne illness linked to tainted lettuce. The E. coli outbreak has sickened at least twenty-three people in four states, but luckily, no deaths have been reported. According to a recent CNN.com article, the current product recall involves companies that distribute lettuce supplies to wholsesale and food service outlets. Experts suggest you abstain from eating lettuce at salad bars because of the fact that this current recall involves the lettuce distributed wholesale. Additionally, salad bars generally have the potential for more contact with lots of hands and people.

Grocery store whole lettuce is relatively safe, according to the expert consulted by CNN.com. Freshway Foods and Vaughan Foods have issued a product recall for bagged lettuce products. Production practices, harvesting, packing, processing, and food handling have all been linked to illnesses associated with leafy greens.

The Food and Drug Administration has offered food safety tips to assist in food safety. 1) Clean –make sure you wash your hands and everything else that comes into contact with good, including utensils, countertops, and tableware. 2) Separate – keep uncooked food from contaminating other food with dangerous bacteria. 3) Cook – keep food safety by cooking it thoroughly. 4) Chill – keep foods cold and chill leftovers quickly.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers