Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are concerned that the recent e. coli outbreak in Europe could affect Illinois. According to The Times, the communications director for the Illinois Department of Public Health stated that food borne outbreaks can happen, “anytime, anywhere.” E. coli can be found in produce, meats, or the intestines of humans and animals. She also said that food borne outbreaks are often under reported. For example, last December there was a salmonella outbreak in Illinois that was linked to sprouts.
Another example is the 2008 Illinois e. coli outbreak in iceberg lettuce. According to Medill Reports Chicago, six people were hospitalized after eating iceberg lettuce during the outbreak. Another 26 in Michigan had fallen ill due to the lettuce. People contaminated with the e. coli O157 strain often had symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Fortunately, this instance only required six hospitalizations in Illinois. Other instances of e. coli outbreaks have cost millions in medical expenses. Food poisoning can lead to serious illness or death. Illinois food poisoning lawsuits have helped victims of food poisoning recover from the expensive medical care required to treat the illness.
A food crops extension specialist and postharvest physiologist at the University of Illinois told The Times that the strain that hit Europe is likely to come to the United States in the near future. “Infection could arrive next week or next month, it is really hard to predict. The chance of it coming to the U.S. is relatively high,” he said. As an example, he pointed to the 1984 e.coli strain that started in California but is now found all over the world.
Chicago food poisoning lawyers at Levin and Perconti, encourages everyone to minimize their risk of disease by washing their hands before they eat and after they use the bathroom as some disease-causing strains of E. coli can be found in even human intestines. People who work in the food service business in particular should adhere to good hygiene practices. Although some Illinois farmers are attending seminars on safe agricultural practices, please be sure to wash all produce before eating. Good hygiene and safe food handling practices will help everyone enjoy the fresh summer produce.