Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses often appear abruptly in various locations across the country, bringing severe illness and death to their victims. Some of these bacterial infections are caused by improper handling of food by restaurants, while others sources have food producers and distributors to blame. Occasionally, food producers are aware that the food they are selling is tainted and potentially deadly, but risk consumers' lives by hiding the evidence in order to make a profit. Personal injury lawyers have won millions of dollars in compensation for recent victims of foodborne illnesses.
Some of the more recent outbreaks include bacteria such as:
This bacterium is found in the feces of humans or animals, and can cause severe abdominal issues, bloody diarrhea, and in some cases, kidney failure or death. It can enter meat during processing, and if it is not cooked at a proper temperature, it will survive and infect the individuals who consume the meat.
It can also be found in raw vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce or sprouts that haven't been washed properly. All of these sources of E. coli bacteria have cause outbreaks in recent years, resulting in multiple deaths across the US.
Found in soil and water, this type of bacteria is often contracted by animals, then passes into meat and dairy products. This bacterium is unique in that it can survive and grow in a refrigerated environment. Once inside a food processing facility, it can live for years undetected until an outbreak appears.
Listeria can also be found in raw fruits and vegetables. Infection can cause severe fever and muscle cramps in healthy individuals, but can be deadly to pregnant women, newborn babies, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. A recent outbreak of Listeria infections, caused by contaminated cantaloupes, caused thirty seven deaths and several dozen severe illnesses.
The producers of the tainted cantaloupes were found to have unsanitary conditions at their facility and were arrested. Several wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by personal injury attorneys throughout the United States against the food producers as well as the various retailers who sold the tainted fruit.
Personal injury attorneys must seek the help of experts such as epidemiologists, who study the spread of illnesses and diseases, when building their cases. they must also seek information from government agencies concerning the outbreak in question, as well as gather statements from representatives of the producers, distributors, and sellers of the tainted product. This can be a lengthy process, but it results in substantial compensation for the victims.