Foodborne illness, sometimes referred to as food poisoning, is any sickness resulting from eating contaminated food.  Food can be contaminated through improper handling, preparation, or food storage.  Although some foodborne illnesses in the United States result from pesticides or chemicals in food, a majority of occurrences of foodborne illness come from bacteria that enter food during the manufacturing and shipping processes.

Food Safety

Good food safety practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness, especially if one follows food safety guidelines. Most forms of bacterial poisoning can be prevented if food is refrigerated properly, cooked thoroughly, and eaten quickly.  Properly disinfecting surfaces that come in contact with raw food can also greatly reduce the risk of certain types of bacterial infections and foodborne illness.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning symptoms vary based on the type of bacterial or viral agent involved, but most foodborne illness causes nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, fever, headache, and fatigue.  A majority of foodborne illness cases are never reported to the government because the body is able to recover after a short period of time.  But sometimes foodborne illness can result in serious complications and hospitalization, especially for the young and the elderly.

Food Poisoning Outbreaks

In the United States, it is estimated that 76,000 cases of foodborne illness occur every year.  Approximately 5,000 people die every year from food poisoning outbreaks, and these cases can result in food liability for the manufacturers and vendors of tainted products.

One of the most serious foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years was the 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach and lettuce imported from Mexico.  The initial food poisoning outbreak occurred in September 2006 and involved fresh spinach imported to restaurants and grocery stores.  The subsequent foodborne illness outbreak involved iceberg lettuce sent to several Taco Bell locations.  276 people reported E. coli food poisoning illness from the spinach and lettuce outbreak, and 3 people died.

Foodborne Illness Lawyer

If you or a family member has suffered foodborne illness from improperly produced, packaged, or shipped food, you may be entitled to file a food poisoning lawsuit, including a E. coli lawsuit, a listeria lawsuit, or a salmonella lawsuitContact the food safety lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard for free claim evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by