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Who Can Be Held Liable for Food-Related Illnesses?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Food safety negligence is one of the leading causes of food-related illnesses. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses. As the global marketplace expands, widespread outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, like the salmonella in peanuts and listeria in cantaloupe, are increasingly more common with the food products shipped around the world.

Personal Injury and Product Liability Claims for Food Illnesses

When a food-related illness is caused by the negligence of a food manufacturer or preparer, the responsible party may be held liable in a personal injury or product liability lawsuit. In these cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing in handling, preparing, or storing the food in question caused the food to become contaminated and resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. Food poisoning lawsuits are often complicated cases that require scientific and medical expert testimony. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer like those at Ankin Law Office, LLC, who can guide you through the complex legal and factual issues.

Criminal Liability for Food Safety Negligence

Not only can food safety negligence lead to civil liability, it can also recent in criminal liability. For instance, two Colorado brothers recently pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a deadly listeria outbreak in 2011 that caused 33 fatalities and many more illnesses nationwide. Earlier this year, charges were filed against four employees of Peanut Corporation of America for allegedly orchestrating a scheme to manufacture and ship tainted peanuts that was linked to the massive salmonella outbreak of 2009 that killed nine people and sickened hundreds of others.

How to Protect Yourself from Food Safety Negligence

Consumers are reminded to:

  • Wash all produce before eating.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops and sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water. Use a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used to dry the surfaces.
  • Immediately clean up spills in the refrigerator.
  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.

Contact a Knowledgeable Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

The Chicago product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are committed to product safety and consumer rights. Contact one of our Chicago food safety attorneys at (312) 600-0000 for more information on preventing foodborne illness and what to do if you fall victim to a foodborne illness as a result of contaminated food.

Categories: Personal Injury