Many experts believe that nearly half of all food poisoning incidents go unreported. In addition, it is estimated that nearly one in four people suffer from food poisoning every year in the United States. This number is disturbingly high, especially when you consider that some food poisoning incidents result in serious injury and even wrongful death. In fact, the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 325,000 people in the United States are hospitalized annually with food poisoning, and 5,000 end up dying. While food safety standards are the strictest they have ever been, 2015 still had its fair share of food poisoning epidemics, with some resulting in hundreds becoming sick or dying.
Health officials have been tracking a recent Listeria outbreak and believe the source is a Dole salad farm in Springfield, Ohio. Listeria is a bacteria that causes Listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of Listeriosis can take up to 70 days to develop, and can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches. The CDC became concerned when there was a sudden rise in Listeria infection reports.
In this case, patients ranged in age from 3 to 83 years old, with a median age of 64. Seventy-four percent of those sickened were female. A total of nineteen people were sickened across multiple states: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New Jersey (1), New York (6), Ohio (2) and Pennsylvania (1). The person injured in Michigan ultimately died as a result of the infection.
Health officials used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to determine that the Listeria outbreak came from the Dole lettuce of the salad farm in Ohio. The farm is currently under investigation to see why and how it managed to ship contaminated food. If it can be shown that the farm failed to take proper care in harvesting or packaging their food, they may be held liable for the injuries that resulted from the outbreak, including a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or a family member have experienced food poisoning, you may also know how painful and scary an experience it can be. If your injuries happened recently, you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against those who served you the tainted food. Please call our Massachusetts food poisoning experts at (617) 787-3700 to learn all about your legal options.