Contaminated Food Outbreaks & Lawsuits: Food Poisoning Claims
Foodborne illnesses can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. Many severe food poisoning cases involve permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, heart, lungs, and pancreas from severe complications such as strokes, heart attacks, pancreatitis, colitis, meningitis, and reactive arthritis.
Some food poisoning cases are not isolated but part of an outbreak at food distributors or restaurant chains. Food poisoning outbreaks are relatively rare, but when they do occur, they can cause serious injuries to consumers. Victims of outbreaks can be left with massive medical bills and an injury that may cause irreparable damage to the body. Personal injuries due to improper food handling can lead to food poisoning claims that compensate victims for injuries as well as pain and suffering.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury attorney with experience in injuries due to food poisoning. The Lyon Firm has represented plaintiffs nationwide in foodborne illness claims.
Early in 2017, multiple customers who ate at a Virginia Chipotle complained of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms consistent with norovirus, which has impacted Chipotle restaurants before.
Chipotle suffered multiple outbreaks of E. coli and norovirus in both 2015 and 2016, and sickened hundreds of customers across the country. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened a criminal investigation looking into Chipotle’s continued outbreaks. The restaurant experienced repeated outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus, forcing it to temporarily close more than 2,000 locations in February, 2016 to conduct employee food-safety training. Other large restaurant chains with food contamination issues include:
Norovirus—According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is a highly contagious virus that infects between 19 and 21 million people per year. Norovirus is easily spread when a person who is ill prepares food, does not wash their hands before preparing food, or does not properly sanitize work surfaces. Norovirus is most often associated with raw oysters or seafood. The CDC reports that fruits and vegetables can be contaminated in the field, although contamination in the kitchen is more common.
Salmonella—Salmonellosis is the infection caused by the salmonella bacteria. It is one of the most frequently reported foodborne illnesses in the United States, with an estimated one million cases occurring annually. About 380 people die each year due to salmonella, according to the CDC. People can be infected by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. The salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and cause death.
E. Coli—the CDC describes an outbreak as two cases involving the same pathogen. Outbreaks of E. Coli often contaminate large swaths of food, and is capable of sickening hundreds of people. There are several strains of E. Coli but symptoms of most usually include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea that often is bloody, fever, malaise, loss of appetite, and mild dehydration.
Hepatitis A—in November, 2015, over 1,000 individuals were thought to have been infected with hepatitis A at a New York McDonald’s location and received post-exposure treatment. McDonald’s was named in lawsuits for allowing an employee to work while infected, for failing to properly supervise, train, or monitor their employees who prepare food for consumption, and for failing to require its employees to obtain immunizations.
Employees and customers filed suit for damages including lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress, and physical pain and injury. The symptoms of hepatitis A can include a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, and fever. Recovery could take up to a year.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a foodborne infection, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions regarding food poisoning claims.