The rise of contaminated food creates a ripple effect on businesses, communities and the economy. Every year, 128,000 Americans need to seek hospitalization and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. The cost is not only $15.5 billion annually in health bills but also thousands are left with a lifetime of complications.
About Foodborne Illnesses
Each year, millions of people in the United States get sick from contaminated food. Symptoms of food poisoning include upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. Also, symptoms may range from mild to severe.
Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or drink. A variety of pathogens or germs can contaminate beverages or meals. These pathogens range from bacteria, viruses, and parasites to even chemicals or other harmful toxins. Norovirus and Salmonella are among the most common pathogens.
Rise of Contaminated Food
Foodborne illness hits one in six Americans every year. This equals around 48 million people get sick from a variety of pathogens. Many end up in the hospital or die. The CDC sees around 200 illness clusters or potential outbreaks of contaminated food a year. Many times government and the industry can reduce some outbreaks like E. coli 0157: H7. However, reductions in salmonella, listeria, and Norovirus have not occurred.
In fact, more people have contracted these bacterial infections. The CDC points to those who are a risk (pregnant women, elderly, immune suppressed and child) is increasing. Also, seasonal and environmental changes are causing an increase. For example, when someone leaves food out in warmed months, it can produce an outbreak. This is predominately in restaurant settings. Outbreaks in restaurant settings also increased to 60% in the past 5 years. Yet, home outbreaks dropped significantly to 8%.
After Food Poisoning Steps
- Chest or severe abdominal pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Joint pain
- Prolonged diarrhea
Make sure medical professionals take tests to identify the pathogen. Also, keep and preserve all packaging materials and all parts of unconsumed food for tests if necessary.
Keep all purchase orders, receipts including those made with debit or credit card that shows buying the contaminated item. Then, immediately report the food poisoning to the county or local health department.
Make sure to seek the opinion of a knowledgeable attorney before calling to register a complaint with the restaurant or grocery store.
In the meantime, take detailed photographs of any undercooked or adulterated food believed to be the source of food poisoning. If other people in the home ate the same food, inquire if they are ill. If so, take their information for the attorney.
Food poisoning lawsuits play an important role in keeping food systems safe. These lawsuits hold negligent corporations accountable. Plus, it shows lawmakers that food safety is imperative. When contaminated food injures people from outbreaks caused by bacteria or viruses, most of the time it is manufacturer negligence. The company is fully aware of its potentially dangerous practices and do not correct it. Thus, customers’ lives are endangered.