Sabra Dipping Co. recalled 30,000 cases of hummus last week due to possible Listeria contamination. Listeria can cause serious, even fatal, infections in children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and usually subside within a few days. But serious injuries can occur, including stillbirth or miscarriage in pregnant women.
Liability for Contaminated Food
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, 48 million Americans become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die due to eating contaminated food. Everybody involved in the food industry – from the growers, manufacturers, packers, shippers and grocery stores – have a responsibility to consumers to put a safe product on the market. If contaminated food is put on the shelves and causes illness or death, it may form the basis of a product liability suit against those involved in getting the food to your table.
In a products liability suit for food contamination it is vital to determine where the contamination occurred, and whether anybody up or down the supplier line interfered with the food’s processing in anyway, or whether quality control procedures were not followed. If the contamination occurred at the farm, it may be possible to sue not only the farmer, but the packer and processor for failing to conduct required tests on the crops or meat before packing and shipping.
If the product was contaminated from processor to store, the processor may be liable for failing to properly package the food for transport, the trucking company may be liable for failing to adequately refrigerate the truck, and the store may be liable for failing to check the temperature of the food and the transport car prior to putting it on the shelf. Who can be named a defendant in a products liability case depends on where in the chain the food became contaminated.
Damages for Food Contamination Illness
Recovering damage for an illness caused by eating contaminated food requires more than simply suffering from a day or two of abdominal cramps, vomiting and feverish chills. Instead you would need to prove that the food caused a serious illness that required medical attention or hospitalization for your symptoms, such as the need for IV fluids to combat dehydration caused by severe vomiting and diarrhea, or other medical intervention for infections caused by the contamination.
If a pregnant woman suffered a stillbirth or miscarriage following contamination, a review of her medical history and activities during the days leading up to the stillbirth or miscarriage would be necessary to prove that the pregnancy ended as a result of consuming the contaminated food, rather than another reason.
Contact a Products Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one became ill or died after eating contaminated food, an experienced attorney can help. Proving that an illness or death was caused by contaminated food can be tricky, as it requires proof that you consumed a contaminated product. The attorneys at Appel Law Firm LLP work closely with independent food testers and medical examiners who can help determine if contaminated food caused your illness. Contact Appel Law Firm LLP at 888-527-0674, or complete our web form, to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case today.