Food Recalls and Foodborne Illness in Nebraska
Discovering that you or someone in your family has consumed a food product that has been recalled is frightening. Germs can affect different people differently. People with compromised or vulnerable immune systems, such as children, pregnant women, senior adults, transplant patients, and those with HIV or another autoimmune disorder, are much more at risk of life-threatening illnesses when food poisoning is involved.
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If you or a family member suffered a serious illness or permanent injury because of a tainted food product, call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our Nebraska personal injury attorney will be able to sit down with you – or visit you in the hospital, if need be – to discuss your case and find out if there is compensation available for you through legal action. Call (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation today.
There are several reasons a food product can be recalled:
- The food is posing a safety concern.
- The food is contaminated.
- The food is defective.
- The food is mislabeled.
- The food is missing warning labels.
- The food is improperly packaged.
Though these issues are of concern to the manufacturer as well as consumers, not all of them will result in an illness. There are three different classifications used for food recalls.
- Class I - There is a strong chance that the food product will cause a serious illness, health problem, or death. One example of this classification is food that has been contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, or another dangerous bacteria.
- Class II - There is a strong chance that the food product will cause an illness, but the illness is not considered serious or life-threatening. An example would be a stomach bug.
- Class III - There is only a slight chance that the food will cause any illness. In this case, the food could simply be mislabeled and only pose an issue for someone with a specific food allergy – however, that’s enough to kill an unsuspecting consumer.
You can check and see if an item was recalled on foodsafety.gov. If you were made seriously ill by a food product, you may have a legal case for compensation against the manufacturer, distributor, seller, or more. Talk to a Nebraska food recall attorney to discuss your unique situation.
Unfortunately, foodborne illnesses are more common than most people think. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that there are over 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year. Around 3,000 of those will result in death. In 2017, Nebraska was hit with an outbreak of Salmonella in West Point, with nearly 20 cases confirmed.
The common term for foodborne illness is food poisoning, which occurs after eating food contaminated with toxins, parasites, viruses, or bacteria. This food may come pre-packaged in a store, or be prepared in a restaurant or fast-food setting. Either way, you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for an illness that wasn’t your fault.
It can take several hours or a few days before most victims display symptoms of a foodborne illness, which can include diarrhea, blood in stool, vomiting, cramps, fever, nausea, headache, and difficulty swallowing. The main danger with such illnesses is dehydration. This condition can be most devastating to small children, the elderly, or a person with a weakened or compromised immune system.
If you or a family member experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Medical professionals can administer liquids, provide treatment, and assist with managing the discomfort and other issues related to food poisoning. Early treatment of a foodborne illness is also critical in determining which food source was the culprit.
After your immediate medical concerns have been addressed, try to determine what food item caused the illness (or have a family member do it, if you are too violently ill). The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services recommends:
- Freeze the remainder of the suspect food – it can be tested by the Department.
- Contact your local public health department or the Office of Epidemiology to report the illness at (402) 471-2937.
If you can, it is helpful to create a written timeline of the events leading up to your illness, how your symptoms developed, how you treated them, when you sought medical care, and how the illness altered your normal daily activities.
In addition, make copies of any medical records pertaining to the illness. Compiling as much documentation as possible will be helpful when you seek compensation for your illness, and a copy should also be sent to your local health department.
In 2015, a Nebraska couple was awarded $11 million after suffering severe Salmonella poisoning at a buffet in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The husband, a military veteran who had been successfully treated for gastroesophageal reflux disease, was left fighting for his life after the poisoning in 2010, and will suffer lifelong damage as a direct result. The restaurant was found to be in violation of 18 health standards when authorities came out to investigate.
After a serious illness, it can be tempting to just want to get back to your normal schedule. But it is important to remember that you have a right to be compensated for your illness if it was caused by a contaminated food product. In addition, the negligent party needs to be held accountable for its actions to ensure that other consumers are not placed at risk.
Bottlinger Law L.L.C. can answer your questions about compensation for your illness and additional medical needs caused by your illness. Our legal team has over a decade of experience working on behalf of injury victims in the Omaha area, and you can rest assured that we will focus on your best interests now and in the future. Call today at (402) 505-8234 to schedule your free consultation with a skilled Nebraska foodborne illness attorney.
- Is Someone Liable for Foodborne Illness?
- Foodborne Illnesses: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Current Food Recalls and Alerts - USDA
- Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness): University of Nebraska - Lincoln
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