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The Legalities of a Food Recall

When you purchase food to feed your family members, you expect it to be of good quality and safe to eat. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case and the result is a food-related injury, or even death. According to Fox News, a California company is currently recalling cucumbers that are allegedly tainted with salmonella poisoning. The outbreak reportedly affected 285 people spanning 27 states between July 3rd and August 17th, causing severe stomach illness. One California woman allegedly died from salmonella poisoning. The company in question voluntarily recalled the cucumbers, but it is reportedly working with health officials to identify the source of contamination.

The New York Times is also reporting about food recalls, investigating the recent spike among organic food products. According to the article, seven percent of 2015 food recalls involved organic foods. This is a sharp increase from one percent in 2012 and 2013. The majority of these incidents were based on bacterial contamination, such as salmonella or listeria.

The Organic Trade Association does not agree with this assessment, asserting that the percentage of organic food recalls is proportionate to the percentage of organic foods sold in grocery stores.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

The common signs of salmonella poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea;
  • High fever;
  • Stomach cramping;
  • Dehydration; and
  • In severe cases, Reiter’s Syndrome may develop, which can cause chronic arthritis.

Symptoms of listeria poisoning include:

  • High fever;
  • Nausea;
  • Muscles tightness and aches;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Mental changes; and
  • In severe cases, meningitis and brain abscesses may develop.

Elderly consumers, along with children and individuals with weakened immune systems, are the most vulnerable to the serious effects of food poisoning.

Within the government, food recalls are managed by the USDA and the FDA. When more than one person gets sick after consuming the same food or drink, the government considers it a foodborne outbreak. Once an incident is discovered, the government attempts to mitigate the situation and prevent widespread sickness. Companies can either choose to recall the contaminated product voluntarily or be subjected to a mandatory recall by the government.

Product Liability in Florida

Food recall lawsuits fall under the product liability theory of law. Generally, these cases turn on a defect in the design of a product or a defect in the manufacturing of a product. When food is at the center of the lawsuit, it is almost always an issue of errors in the manufacturing process. These may include problems such as insanitary practices in the manufacturing/ packaging plant or pesticide contamination during the growing process. Litigation of these cases requires a vast amount of discovery and evidence, so a capable attorney is vital to the success of your case.

When you become ill from a food-borne illness, you deserve compensation for your pain, suffering and medical costs. If you or a loved has been injured by a food-borne illness, call Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group in Tampa at (813) 803-6518 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with knowledgeable and comprehensive representation.

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