We generally take it for granted that food purchased through grocery stores or restaurants is safe. Unfortunately, the fact is that food-borne illnesses are common, as are food recalls. Our Oregon personal injury attorneys explain how to protect your family and your rights in seeking compensation when a food-borne illness occurs.
The Truth About Food Recalls
News reports provide alerts about different product recalls on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. Everything from automotive parts to toys and children’s clothing has made it on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) recall list. However, one of the products often overlooked, and among the items we purchase most often, is food.
Food recalls are surprisingly frequent and a common cause of personal injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every six Americans, or roughly 48 million people, suffer food poisoning each year. Close to 150,000 people are hospitalized as a result, while another 3,000 die due to food-related diseases. Bacteria, viruses, and hazardous chemicals or contaminants may be in certain products we buy from the store and can cause serious illnesses, including:
- Clostridium botulinum (botulism), caused by a toxin in canned foods;
- Cyclospora, an intestinal illness caused by parasites;
- E. coli, caused by bacteria in meats and products rinsed in contaminated water;
- Hepatitis A, often found in raw vegetables, salads, and berries;
- Listeria monocytogenes, found in refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods and contaminated milk;
- Salmonella, which can be found in beef, chicken, pork, eggs, fruits or vegetables, and some processed foods.
Holding Stores, Restaurants, and Manufacturers Accountable
The Oregon Department of Agriculture provides a list of food recalls in our area. It is alarmingly long, with new products added often multiple times per month. This is generally due to bacteria or other harmful contaminants that can cause food-borne illness. To protect yourself and your family, take these steps:
- Only shop or eat at reputable grocery stores or restaurants;
- Sign up to receive notifications for Oregon food recalls;
- Check state health department ratings;
- Avoid buying food in packaging that is expired, open, dented, or otherwise damaged;
- Be especially careful when purchasing items shipped from overseas, where food safety practices may not be up to U.S. standards.
In the event of a food borne illness, go to the doctor immediately. Try to identify what food is responsible and where it was purchased. If possible, hold on to receipts and packaging. You have the right to file a personal injury claim against manufacturers for damages suffered during your illness. If a distributor, store, or restaurant owner ignored recalls or other safety precautions, they can be held liable as well.
Reach Out To Our Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys
Food borne illness can have serious impacts on your health, while resulting in lost wages and major medical expenses. At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we help you get the compensation you need to recover. Reach out and call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Oregon personal injury attorneys online to request a consultation.