Category Archives: Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning? What You Need to Know!

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As you make plans for a romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day, you might want to take a minute to confirm that the restaurant you will be visiting has passed recent restaurant inspections.   In the state of Florida, you can quickly check this online here through the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

Food Poisoning

Foodborne illnesses or food poisoning occurs more frequently than you may realize:  nearly 1 in 6 Americans get food poisoning each year.  According to the CDC, nearly 50 million Americans become sick annually from these foodborne illnesses.  And foodborne illnesses that occurs from restaurant food or even at your home can be serious — over 100,000 Americans are hospitalized each year with food poisoning.

Consumers can acquire food poisoning from consuming contaminated food or drink.   Food can become contaminated with bacteria or viruses at the farm, during the packaging process, at a processing facility, or at the store or restaurant.  If the food is not maintained at appropriate temperatures or if it is exposed to other contaminants, the food can become a cause of food poisoning.

While there are many, the most common bacterial and viral causes of foodborne illnesses include Norovirus, Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria.  When individuals get food poisoning, they often react with  symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and fever.  Because these symptoms are similar to the flu and other sicknesses, a medical diagnosis from a physician or medical clinic is important.

What to do if you suspect food poisoning

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have food poisoning, we recommend that you take the following actions:

  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Consult with your physician, medical clinic, or hospital to treat your symptoms and confirm a diagnosis.  You should request specific, conclusive tests such as stool samples that will help prove or disprove whether a foodborne toxin made you sick.

  • Determine which foods and/or drinks caused the illness.

Because food poisoning can occur from hours to days after consumption, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source.  If you believe the suspected food was from a restaurant, we recommend that you save any of the remaining food or leftovers that you may have brought home.  If the food was consumed at home, save any discarded food as well as any containers.  Food scraps and containers may be critical pieces of evidence.  Additionally,  keep any receipts or pictures from the restaurant or store where the suspected food or drink was purchased.

  • Consult with an experienced, reputable personal injury liability attorney.

If you or a loved one has become sick due to a foodborne illness, the best advice is to find a reputable attorney who not only has significant experience with personal injury liability cases but also has specific experience with foodborne illness cases.

The right attorney will provide expert guidance to help you prove the source of the food poisoning, obtain fair and proper compensation (for medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and/or pain and suffering,)  and help ensure that the manufacturer or food provider won’t make the same mistake twice.  Since certain documents must be filed shortly after the incident, we recommend contacting an attorney right away so that you can protect your rights and receive proper compensation.

The case may be relatively easy to prove if the government health agency has linked a particular food to an outbreak of food poisoning.    Alternatively, the case may be complex if the suspected source is from a restaurant and there are no food leftovers available for testing.

Whether the case is easy or complex or somewhere in between,  you can expect Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. to provide straightforward guidance on the best options for your case.

Do you have questions about food poisoning?  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can answer them.  Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or www.goldmandaszkal.com.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

 

 

Food Poisoning Cases on the Rise in South Florida Caused by Salmonella and Listeria

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It seems to be that time of the year again! Last year, in 2011, we informed readers of various food recalls in the State of Florida. Once again, it was announced that there is an outbreak of salmonella in cantaloupe. There has been an unusually high hospitalization rate of 52%, with 78 reported hospitalizations due to infected cantaloupe. In addition, 2 elderly people have died in Kentucky. Although Florida has not been affected as much as some other states, this outbreak is still in its early stages, and consumers should remain cautious.
Please read last year’s blog below for more information on food recalls and the effects of salmonella and listeria.
Salmonella and Listeria
According to WebMD, every year in the United States, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonella food poisoning are reported. It is also postulated that many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, and because of this, the actual number of salmonella food poisoning cases may be 30 or more times greater. Young children, older adults, and people with impaired immune systems should be especially wary of salmonella food poisoning, as they are susceptible to getting the most severe infections. Symptoms from salmonella poisoning develop 12 to 72 hours after infection, and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
Similarly, cantaloupe was recalled due to listeriosis, which is a rarer form of food poisoning. Less common than salmonella, in the United States, approximately 2,500 people become seriously ill from listeriosis per year. Listeriosis affects mainly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems. Listeriosis can be most frightening for pregnant women, as it can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers ate contaminated food during pregnancy. Because listeriosis is less known than salmonella, it is important to know the source of it. Listeriosis is found in soil and water, which means that it can be found in vegetables, animal products (meat and dairy), processed foods (soft cheeses and cold cuts), and unpasteurized milk or foods. If you fall under any of the categories of people most susceptible to listeriosis, then it would be wise to avoid these types of foods. Of course you don’t want to cut out all vegetables, so an alternative would be to pay close attention to all food recall warnings. Both salmonella and listeriosis result in flu-like symptoms. If you suspect that you have a severe case of food poisoning, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Food Poisoning and the Law
It is often difficult to prove liability in cases of food poisoning because of a number of potentially extenuating circumstances. It is important to try and determine the exact source of the food poisoning, the type of food poisoning, and the extent of the food poisoning. Because of the delay in symptoms, especially with salmonella, it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused the illness. It is important to understand that becoming sick immediately after eating something does not point to salmonella or listeria poisoning. It is more likely that you became ill over something that you ate 12 to 72 hours before. It is necessary to have damages in order to sue for food poisoning. This means that you underwent medical treatment, lost wages from missed work due to your illness, and additionally, if the defendant was particularly careless, you may also be able to obtain punitive damages. It should be noted that a stomach bug that lasts for an hour or so will not be enough to justify bringing a lawsuit for damages. Documentation outside of your own medical records are often difficult to produce, however, an experienced South Florida personal injury lawyer can help you prove the source of the food poisoning, or determine the most likely source through the use of expert witnesses.
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Food Poisoning in the News
Lately, there have been a number of food recalls in Florida. More specifically, cantaloupe, spinach, bagged salad and frozen egg product top the charts. On October 27, 2011, American Egg Products of Blackshear, which distributes and sells 5 pound cartons of frozen egg product to Georgia and Florida food manufacturers, recalled cases marked “Lot # 272-1.” This marking can be found printed across the side of each case and embossed on the end of each individual 5 pound egg carton. As with the bagged salad recall earlier this month, salmonella was detected through routine sampling.