Mass production of food has replaced ancient societies where people grew their own crops, hunted game or raised livestock. While highly unlikely, a gulp of a drink or a bite to eat can lead to food poisoning sending the consumer to the hospital—or the morgue. One resident of Northern California recalls becoming deathly ill in 2011 after ordering a hamburger at a restaurant for dinner. His first red flag was that the meat was pink. Two hours later, his stomach hurt, he had severe stomach cramps and became nauseated. Even after taking over the counter medications, his condition worsened. After two days in bed, he began vomiting blood he was treated at a local hospital.
Food poisoning is a common occurrence. It remains a costly–and preventable–public health problem, according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC estimates that close to 128,000 are hospitalized from food poisoning, and 3,000 die. Are there ways to prevent food poisoning? Food safety regulators and consumers can protect themselves if they know what to look for in identifying sources for food poisoning. Sources of contamination could include:
- Spraying fruits and vegetables in the fields with contaminated water
- Using contaminated water or ice to wash, pack or chill fruits or vegetables during processing
- Leaving refrigerated food on a loading dock for a long time in warm weather during distribution
- Using a knife or other utensil to cut raw meats without washing it before slicing other vegetables.
- Enlisting in local regulations for restaurant, grocery stores and other food vendors for food handling and proper cooking techniques.
Food poisoning is serious; and if you have ever had it, you know you can be laid up for 24 hours or even days. If you believe that your food poisoning was caused by unsafe handling of food at a restaurant or venue, it may be difficult to determine the exact time and place. You’ll find yourself dealing with multiple entities and jurisdictional regulations. Enlisting the assistance of a personal injury attorney can help you determine the basis for your claim, and assist you in the process.