When our family goes out for a meal or brings home food from the supermarket, we assume that it is safe for our consumption. We look forward to breaking bread with our loved ones, and hardly think twice about the potential for devastating or deadly bacteria to be at our table. But every year in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 325,000 people are sickened to the point of hospitalization and more than 5,000 people are killed as a result of a foodborne illness contracted by eating unsafe foods.
Unfortunately, foodborne illnesses have their most devastating effect on those who are already vulnerable. Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems suffer the most when a food handler, processor, or manufacturer fails to protect consumers. If you or a loved one has been sickened as a result of food borne illness and are showing symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention to address any current issues you may have. You should save any piece of the food that caused the sickness, if you have it, and retain any receipts or other proof of purchase you may have.
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Common Causes of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
Tracking down the singular cause of foodborne illnesses isn’t easy because a number of different types of pathogens can cause what is commonly known as food poisoning. CDC data shows that the most common foodborne illnesses are caused by the bacteria E. coli, listeria, salmonella, and campylobacter. Many other cases of food poisoning are caused by a group of viruses called noroviruses (calicivirus). Foodborne illnesses can also be the result of contamination by parasites such as giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium or by toxins produced by microbes.
A food borne illness outbreak is typically defined as two or more occurrences of the same illness resulting from the ingestion of contaminated food. Because the food distribution system in the United States is complex, outbreaks may be local, happening in the Salem, MA area, or nationwide. For example, a group of people in one region may fall ill after purchasing food from a single grocery store or dining at a restaurant where food was handled improperly. Alternately, a group of people spread out around the nation can become ill after consuming food that was grown at one farm or processed at one plant and then shipped across the country.
Symptoms of Foodborne Illness
Each of the different types of food poisoning carries unique symptoms, but certain effects are common to most foodborne illnesses. These include:
- Upset stomach
- Abdominal cramps
Food poisoning symptoms can appear several hours after ingesting contaminated food, but some types of food poisoning have a much longer incubation period. Some foodborne illnesses only become symptomatic days, weeks, or even months after contaminated food has been eaten. As a result, diagnosing a foodborne illness is usually accomplished with diagnostic testing as opposed to simply analyzing a patient’s symptoms.
As the leading foodborne illness attorneys in Salem, MA, Mazow | McCullough, PC, has extensive experience pursuing justice on the behalf of those who have been injured as a result of a failure to keep food safe. We have recovered millions of dollars for our injured and sickened clients and have a depth of experience and knowledge to help you recover for your serious injury.
Please contact Mazow | McCullough, PC, today for a free consultation about your case. The right lawyer makes all the difference.