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What to Know About Food Poisoning

On this Page:

  • How common is food poisoning?
  • Where do outbreaks occur?
  • Could you be at risk for foodborne illness?
  • What to do if you have food poisoning

Personal Injury: Food Poisoning

Dead bat found in Fresh Express salad

Two people ate some Fresh Express salad before they found a decomposed bat carcass inside the container. This could be serious for the people who ate the product. It is not known if the bat had rabies because of the deteriorated condition.

Fresh Express recalled their line of Organic Marketside Spring Mix salad containers with best by date of April 14. The salads are only sold at Walmart stores in the Southeast.

What to know about food poisoning

How many people are affected each year by foodborne illness?

CDC estimates that each year roughly 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne illness. In other terms, that’s 1 in 6 Americans. These numbers refer to single instance issues. Like when an employee sneezes on your food because he or she is working on a day when they should have stayed at home. CDC also states that 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases each year in the united states.

What is an outbreak?

When two or more people suffer from the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the instance is classified as a foodborne disease “outbreak.”
Since 1998, there have been 19,119 foodborne outbreaks in the United States. There have been 373,531 victims affected with illness, and 14,681 were hospitalized.

During that time there have been 428 outbreaks in Texas.

Who is at risk for foodborne illness?

It’s difficult to determine how many people are affected by food borne illness each year. It’s a murky territory because of delayed information that’s highly dependent on reporting by state health departments. From what we know, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outbreaks linked to pre-prepared food accounted for 23 outbreaks, 42 hospitalizations, and 572 more sicknesses in 2015 than in 2016. That’s double the number of outbreaks from 2014 to 2015.
Foodborne illness can be very serious for the following populations.

  • Pregnant women: the immune system of women can be altered while pregnant, making them more susceptible. Bacteria could be harmful and potentially devastating for an unborn baby because its immune system is under-developed. Personal injury while pregnant is often a serious issue. Find out more information about pregnancy personal injury cases.
  • Young children: the immune system of small children is still developing.
  • Older adults: as people age, the defense of an immune system weakens. An older adult with foodborne illness should visit the hospital for care. Additionally, an older adult may need the care of experienced health professionals if they have any other chronic health conditions.
  • People with immune systems weakened by disease or medical treatment: a compromised immune system puts a person at risk for illness. Undergoing cancer treatment or chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes are all reasons a person’s immune system might be weakened.

In every case, foodborne bacteria can be very harmful. Hospitalization may be required to beat the lengthier, more serious illnesses.

Why food poisoning is so common

Whole Foods, Costco, and Chipotle have all made headlines with outbreaks of foodborne illness in 2016. Supermarkets face new food-safety issues as the prepared food industry booms into more complex recipes, unique ingredients, and pre-packaged prepared meals for storage on the shelf or in the .

Experts estimate that the prepared foods industry has grown to a $30.8-billion-dollar business. That’s a 100% increase since 2005. And that means an increased risk in prepared-food offerings found at the grocery store. It’s ready to eat when you buy it, so many consumers don’t think about the prep that went into the food or unseen costs of what’s in their salad.

Austin based grocery chain, Whole Foods, recalled packages of raw macadamia nuts due to a salmonella contamination as well as a recall on pesto pasta salad due to listeria concerns. The grocer has been forced to shut down commercial kitchens in the Boston area – citing issues with its processing of meat, poultry and raw seafood. It’s not the only time the health focused chain has had troubles with food safety. Their PR team might be veteran warriors, but they’re not alone with outbreak issues.

Costco’s rotisserie chicken salad sickened 19 people before the FDA warning went into effect. In Dec. the final report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that five people were hospitalized and two developed a type of kidney failure. But the real failure came from a diced celery and onion blend purchased by Costco from Taylor Farms Pacific. Supermarkets are not the only ones facing food safety dilemmas – those issues continue for fast-food restaurants.

A series of outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants affected hundreds of people nationwide. In August of 2015, more than 200 people were affected with norovirus in California. Then more than 60 people got sick with salmonella. Later in October, E. coli contaminations cropped up in the Pacific Northwest. Despite food safety programs touted by Chipotle’s PR team, the outbreaks continued and caused almost 500 people a serious illness.

After continued E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants nationwide, the chain performed dramatic stunts to lure customers back to the burrito chain. One of which was offering $1 burritos amid the train of 5 separate outbreaks all across the country.

More than 100 victims filed lawsuits against the company. Bill Marler, an attorney who represented more than 50 of the food-illness victims called the size and scope of the issue “perplexing.”

Prevent Food Poisoning

One of the best ways to treat food poisoning is to make sure that you never experience it.
McMinn offers this Food Safety Checklist to learn what to look for and how to prevent illness.

Food poisoning is not only painful, it’s also dangerous. Bacteria gets into your body can make you feel nauseous, actually vomit, and even damage your organs. At worst, you might even die.

Tips To Avoid Getting Food Poisoning

Eating at home? Check the expiration date, and be sure to throw out food that’s been around in your pantry or fridge for too long. Do you really need to eat last week’s leftovers? So, make something fresh, but be sure to prepare all food, especially raw meat, properly. After all, you don’t want to give both you and the rest of your family food poisoning.

If you want to help your family stay safe while cooking or aren’t sure if it’s cooked yet – visit McMinn Law Firm’s resource guide to food safety.

Tricks For Treating A Case Of Food Poisoning

If you’ve already got food poisoning, then it’s time to get well. Here’s how:

  • Eat bits and slices of wheat bread.
  • Drink Sprite to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid heavy, rich scents.
  • Rest up in bed.

If you or someone you love is the victim of food poisoning that occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, then contact the McMinn Law Firm today.

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