When we buy our food at the grocery store and prepare it for our family, we have an expectation that food is going to be safe to eat. But what if the food you eat is making you ill because of some type of contamination? Food products are recalled almost daily. Most of these recalls are the result of contaminated food.
How a Food Recall Works
When there is a reason to believe that food has been contaminated, a food recall will be initiated by the manufacturer or by a government agency such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sometimes these entities are informed that a product is making people sick by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who receives the information from state health departments. Manufacturers or distributors of the food or a government agency will then instruct stores to remove the product from their shelves and consumers will be advised to return the food and not consume it. Food recalls are initiated because there is something in the food that is making people sick or because there is an allergen that has not been identified on the product’s packaging.
Causes of Food Contamination
Food can be contaminated at either the manufacturing level or at the preparation level (in a restaurant). Common causes of food contamination at the manufacturing level include:
- Contamination before reaching the processing plant—sometimes food is exposed to pathogens either in the ground or coming into contact with animal feces or contaminated water before it even reaches a processing plant.
- Food that is improperly stored or transported
- Contamination during processing caused by improper cleaning and maintenance of equipment
Common causes of food contamination at the preparation level include:
- Improper washing of produce
- Improper storage of food
- Cross-contamination caused by using utensils or surfaces that have touched raw meat without proper sanitation
- Improper cooking
Bacteria Found in Contaminated Food
Pathogens and bacteria in contaminated food can lead to a number of illnesses that can be dangerous or even deadly, especially to vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women. The most common bacteria found in contaminated food include:
- E. Coli—a bacteria that can be found in raw vegetables and undercooked meat, e. coli is found in the intestines and can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and vomiting.
- Listeria—is especially dangerous to pregnant women as it can pass through the placenta to the fetus. Listeriosis can cause fever, flu-like symptoms, confusion, and convulsions.
- Salmonella—causes diarrhea that can become severe enough to lead to hospitalization. Salmonella can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and can lead to death if a patient is not given proper antibiotics.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been affected by contaminated food, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.