Helping Those Who Have Suffered from Dangerous Food
It seems like new food recalls are being announced every other week in the U.S., and food poisoning affects almost 50 million of people a year. Nearly 10 million cases are caused by 31 “known” pathogens or germs tracked by public health systems. However, “unknown” agents cause twice that number.
These agents could be microbes, chemicals, or other substances; but the thing they have in common is that they seriously hurt people through contaminated food. Food poisoning is no longer something that happens occasionally after a bad restaurant experience. It is happening on a nationwide scale because of the negligence of food product manufacturers.
Although government agencies work to control food poisoning, these outbreaks are occurring at a seemingly breakneck pace. For some people, food recalls come too late.
How a Recall Works
A recall may be prompted by:
- The company identifying a potential threat somewhere in the production or distribution chain.
- A health and safety inspection finding contamination, or the risk of contamination in the product.
- People reporting illness that has likely come from the product.
Once contamination is identified, the manufacturer or distributor of the affected food product is responsible for getting it out of the hands of consumers. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) can force a company to issue a recall if necessary.
Here are the three classes of recalls, from most to least severe:
- Class I recall: the affected product has a high probability of causing significant harm or death.
- Class II recall: the product may cause harm, but it is not considered significant.
- Class III recall: the product should not cause actual harm.
Possible Causes of Food Recalls
Usually, food contamination involves one or more of the following:
- Unlabeled potential allergens, which could be deadly to someone with an allergy.
- Physical contamination, which can include anything from foreign objects (metal shavings, for example) to the risk of bacterial or chemical contamination.
- Pathogen growth. If food is not maintained at appropriate temperatures, potentially deadly pathogens may flourish.
What Should Consumers Do?
If you feel sick and suspect food poisoning, get medical attention immediately.
You can check for current food recalls a few ways: watch the headlines, visit the FDA’s recall list, the USDA’s recall list, or both at Foodsafety.gov. If you suspect your illness was caused by food poisoning, you can report a complaint to the FDA. We also recommend contacting the Texas Department of State Health Services.
In addition, an experienced Dallas injury attorney can help people who have suffered food-related injury seek compensation from negligent manufacturers. Get help today by calling Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP at (800) 738-4046. Your consultation is free.