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.
In fact, 28 U.S. States currently do not prohibit the sales of raw milk. Proponents of raw milk claim that, in addition to killing off the dangerous bacteria in the milk, pasteurization also removes some of the natural nutrients. Nevertheless, most government agencies and public health organizations require that milk be pasteurized in order to be considered safely drinkable.
In this particular case, the contaminated milk was infected with Escherichia Coli (commonly abbreviated E. Coli), a bacterium that is found in the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals. When E. Coli is outside of the body – often polluting food by way of fecal contamination – some strains have the potential to cause serious food poisoning in humans.
According to 2010 estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year roughly 48 million people are sickened by a foodborne illness; of those, over 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. Virulent strains of E. Coli can lead to serious infection, and more potent strains may even cause death.
According to MSNBC, the three children sickened by the milk in this particular case were hospitalized with a condition that may lead to kidney failure. If investigations link the disease back to the milk produced by Organic Pastures, the company could be held legally liable for the costs of the medical and hospital bills, as well as damages from the pain and suffering the children endured.
Illnesses from food poisoning have the potential to be devastating and life altering. A doctor will be able to diagnose if you have been infected by contaminated food. Additionally, a personal injury attorney may be able to advise you of your rights under the law; if you were sickened by disease-ridden food, either from a retail store or restaurant, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Our Illinois personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in similar cases, including having won a $4 million settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.