Minneapolis Food Poisoning Lawyer

Food poisoning is also known as food borne illness, and it occurs when people consume food laced with bacteria or viruses. There is usually no way to know if a food contains these harmful microscopic elements, so food poisoning can come on when you least expect it. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of food poisoning symptoms, and there are several ways food can become contaminated. If you suspect you may have food poisoning, taking legal action could help you recover compensation for the damages.

Spike in 2018 Salmonella Outbreaks: What You Should Know

Salmonella is a food-borne illness that can cause serious health complications. So far in 2018, there have been several instances of a salmonella outbreak, ranging in foods from pasta salad, pre-cut melon, eggshells, and more. The most recent outbreak in raw turkey products brings the grand total of salmonella outbreaks to twelve for 2018, one of the highest numbers in the past decade.

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella refers to a group of bacteria that often live in foods. These bacteria are one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Most often, salmonella appears in contaminated eggs, poultry, meats, and cheeses. By cooking and pasteurizing food, it is possible to kill salmonella bacteria and prevent infection.

Symptoms of Salmonella Contamination

When one experiences food poisoning, they can begin experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting & diarrhea

For most cases of food poisoning, there is little treatment other than staying hydrated to replace lost fluids and getting rest. However, in severe cases, it can be necessary to seek medical attention to prevent dehydration. The average duration for food poisoning is four to seven days.

While most cases of food poisoning pass after this time, not everyone’s bodies can fight off salmonella on their own. Infants, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses may get more severe conditions when exposed to salmonella. Likewise, if the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream, a patient may require antibiotics to recover.

How to Avoid Contamination

With the potential severity of illness due to salmonella, it’s important to stay aware of how to avoid contamination for your family’s health. In the current outbreak, which involves raw turkey, you may find this easy to do, but it’s still important to take the proper safety precautions:

  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands is always important, especially when preparing food. It’s even more important when salmonella is involved. Even if you don’t eat raw turkey, there’s a chance you may handle it, and the bacteria is just as capable of making it into your body if you touch your face or another food.
  • Handle foods properly. Refrigerating foods doesn’t just keep them from spoiling, it also prevents salmonella from growing. When you take them out to cook, always make sure you reach the appropriate internal temperature to kill all bacteria. For raw turkey, that means to cook it to 165° Fahrenheit.
  • Beware of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination refers to when you prepare different foods with the same tools, creating the chance for bacteria to spread from one food to another. If you don’t cook the other food the same way, salmonella may still make it into your meal. Thoroughly wash anything that touches raw meats, including cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
  • Don’t feed infected foods to pets. Your dog may have fewer qualms about eating raw meat than you do, but he or she is just as susceptible to getting sick as you are. Only feed them safe foods and wash your hands after.

When it comes to salmonella, the best approach is to avoid any infected foods, especially if you’re uncertain you can prepare them properly to avoid the bacteria. The potential serious health complications that may arise from these bacteria mean that you should take appropriate steps to protect your health.

Frequency of Food Poisoning in America

More than 48 million Americans suffered from food poisoning in 2017. Nearly 128,000 of those people are hospitalized from food poisoning, and approximately 3,000 food contamination-related deaths occur. People with weaker immune systems, such as infants and the elderly, are more susceptible to developing harsher food poisoning symptoms that cause the need for lengthy recovery and costly medication.

If you or a loved one has suffered from food poisoning because of a company’s negligence to handle and prepare potentially infected foods properly, you may be eligible for compensation. The Minneapolis personal injury attorneys at Knutson + Casey can help you understand your rights and determine the best course of action for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Common Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Typically, food poisoning resembles the stomach flu and is therefore difficult to diagnose. It begins with nausea and vomiting and is accompanied by chills, aches and fever. If the symptoms are related to contaminated food, they will appear a few hours after eating. The symptoms typically last a day or two and go away on their own. In severe cases of food poisoning, the symptoms can last for days and may require hospitalization. The damage severe cases cause can include high medical bills, lost income and emergency transportation fees.

Sources of Food Poisoning

E-Coli, salmonella, listeria, and norovirus are some of the most common bacterial and viral causes of food contamination. Some food-borne parasites like tapeworms exist that can enter the body during food consumption and feed off of it from the inside. Mold that forms on old food can lead to food poisoning as well, though this is rare because it is visibly noticeable. High-risk foods include animal-related items, such as meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and shellfish. Leafy green vegetables like spinach also tend to have a high risk for contamination.

Contamination can occur at practically any stage of food processing, from the farm to packaging plants to transport to the point of sale. Improper preparation of food can also lead to contamination, such as under cooking meat or failing to properly refrigerate foods. Heat kills some contaminants in the food, so cooking meats to the suggested temperature is important for food poisoning prevention. Determining the exact cause of food poisoning can be tricky, but it is typically due to negligence in the food growth, handling and preparation processes.

Legal Options to Recover Damages

In cases of well-documented food supply contamination, individuals can enter a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for costs related to food poisoning. Plaintiffs usually file suits of this kind against a restaurant or store from which they unknowingly purchased contaminated food. Restaurants and stores have an implied duty to provide safe products in a sanitary environment. When they breach this duty, sufferers can sue the vendor for negligence due to a failure to exercise reasonable care. The suing party will need proof of harm or injury, causation and breach of duty to make a case.

When to Contact an Attorney

With the assistance of a lawyer, you can isolate the cause of your illness and form a solid argument to recover compensation for associated costs. Even if you are unsure of the exact cause, Knutson + Casey can assist with the investigation to identify a probable culprit. We have 25 years of experience as personal injury lawyers in Minneapolis, so we can help you gain rightful compensation for your hospital bills, lost wages and emotional distress. Give us a call today for a free consultation.