It is quite common for food to travel across the country and change hands several times before it reaches the consumer. During the course of the flow of food, there are countless opportunities for sanitation standards to be compromised, rendering the food unfit for human consumption. The food industry is poorly regulated by the federal government, and, as a result, anywhere from 48 to 76 million Americans suffer from food poisoning each year.
Of these cases, approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths are attributed to listeriosis – caused by the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes (LM) – in America each year. In 2011, a particularly devastating LM outbreak linked to cantaloupes caused 147 illnesses, 33 deaths, and 1 miscarriage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Food products commonly associated with Listeria bacteria include: hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked seafood, soft cheeses, meat and poultry, and vegetables and fruits. Symptoms of Listeriosis include: fever, stiff neck, weakness, vomiting, and confusion.
Unfortunately, food manufacturers and food service establishments do not always prioritize consumer safety. Often, cases of food poisoning can be attributed to the failure of retailers and processors to implement the proper sanitation and personal hygiene procedures and programs to ensure safety. According to experts in the field of food safety, drains should be an area of focus, and cleaning with the proper chemicals is also essential to preventing bacteria like Listeria Monocytogenes. Additionally, retailers and processors should emphasize personal hygiene among staff and should also clean air vents and follow established standard Sanitation Operating Procedures for the maintenance of refrigeration equipment, slicers, meat saws, and cutting boards.
The attorneys at Swartz & Lynch have decades of experience in holding businesses and corporations accountable for their failures to prioritize consumer health and safety. If you think you have been the victim of food poisoning due to the negligence of another, do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced attorneys at Swartz & Lynch LLP. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.