A Consumer Guide to Food Safety Litigation Lawsuit In 2024

If you think you or a member of your family is suffering from food poisoning or any other side effects after a food intake, you could file a food safety litigation lawsuit. If you suspect that the food you bought at a store or restaurant was contaminated, you could be entitled to compensation for the losses and illness you have suffered after eating that food.

Call your doctor immediately if you think you have food poisoning or an allergic reaction to food. If it is an emergency, call 911 right away. 

In addition, you should contact your county or city health department if you think that you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food. Reporting the illnesses from food safety litigations to your local health department will help them identify all the potential outbreaks of foodborne disease. They will investigate and control the outbreak to prevent more people from getting sick. They will also take further measures to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

Common foodborne illnesses

You are allowed to file a food safety lawsuit if you are suffering from a serious illness, such as:

  • Campylobacter.
  • Clostridium perfringens.
  • Cryptosporidium.
  • Botulism (Clostridium botulinum).
  • Giardia.
  • Hepatitis A.
  • Listeria.
  • Norovirus (Norwalk virus, calicivirus, viral gastroenteritis).
  • Salmonellosis (Salmonella).
  • Scombroid Fish Poisoning.
  • Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
  • Shigella.
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph).
  • Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii).
  • Vibrio infections (Vibrio parahaemolyticus).
  • Yersinia.

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Types of food linked with foodborne illnesses include:

  • Food touched by a person with an illness.
  • Fruits and vegetables are contaminated with animal or human waste.
  • Raw animal meat and poultry.
  • Raw eggs.
  • Raw shellfish.
  • Raw sprouts.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Unpasteurized milk.
  • Unpasteurized fruit juices.
food safety litigation lawsuit

What are the objectives of food safety?

According to the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, food safety has six main objectives. They are:

  1. To reduce infections due to key pathogens transmitted through food.
  2. To reduce the number of outbreak-associated infections due to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157, or Campylobacter, Listeria, or Salmonella species associated with food commodity groups.
  3. To prevent an increase in the proportion of nontyphoidal Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni isolates from humans that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs.
  4. To reduce severe allergic reactions among adults with a food allergy diagnosis.
  5. To increase the number of consumers who follow key food safety practices.
  6. To increase the proportion of fast food and food safety practices that prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.

Food Safety Litigations 2024 Updates

The law allows victims of food poisoning and more to file a food safety litigation lawsuit against the restaurants, grocery stores, or foodservice companies responsible for the illness. Potential damages include compensation for:

When is a food service company responsible for food poisoning?

When a food service company offers food with bacteria or other pathogens, the consumer won’t be able to know whether it was the restaurant or the supplier that was responsible for food poisoning. Still, under the law, a person injured by food poisoning may be able to file a food safety litigations lawsuit according to the product liability laws.

Under product liability laws, anyone who manufactures or sells a defective product is strictly liable for all the injuries caused, even if that person or company was not negligent.

In food poisoning cases, a plaintiff will generally need to prove four things to get a fair food safety settlement: 

  • The product was contaminated or defective when it left the defendant’s control.
  • The defendant distributed or sold a contaminated or defective product.
  • The plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the defect.
  • The plaintiff used or consumed the product in a foreseeable manner.

Foodservice companies include those that provide a wide range of ingredients and food to restaurants. These include those that sell packaged foods like salads and sandwiches. This could include grab-and-go type foods sold at grocery stores, gas stations, or the airport. These meals are often prepared in large facilities and distributed across the area. Just like with other restaurants, using contaminated food products or employees mishandling food could result in customers getting sick.

Can I sue a grocery store for making you sick?

Selling expired groceries may not be enough to file a food safety lawsuit in 2024 against the grocery store. However, if the grocery store sells expired food that caused you to get sick, the store may be liable for all your injuries. Under product liability laws and negligence laws, the grocery store is responsible for selling or providing contaminated food that results in harm to the customer. The manufacturer or supplier of the product can also be held liable in a food safety claim. 

Moreover, even if you purchased expired food from the grocery store, you may be able to return your purchase to the store for a refund. Therefore, if the store does not offer a refund, you may be able to file a food safety litigation lawsuit in small claims court. However, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against a grocery store for selling expired food unless you were injured or harmed as a result of your purchase.

What is adulterated food?

According to the Food Safety Act, food is deemed adulterated if:

  • It contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may be considered injurious to health.
  • It is a raw agricultural commodity that bears or contains pesticides.
  • It contains poisonous or deleterious substances added to food.
  • It comes from a diseased animal or an animal that died without being slaughtered.
  • It contains any unsafe food additives.
  • It contains any diseased, contaminated, filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance that is unfit for consumption.
  • The food was produced, prepared, packed and held under unsanitary conditions, rendering it unwholesome or injurious to health.
  • It is contained in a container with poisonous or deleterious substances.
  • It bears an unsafe color additive.
  • Any substance is added to it to increase its bulk or weight, reducing its quality or strength.
  • It was subjected to radiation that does not conform with regulations.
  • It contains eggs or egg products that were broken using a centrifuge-type of egg-breaking machine.

Note that the manufacture, sale, and offer for sale of any adulterated food is prohibited under the law.

Basic strategies to get protection against adulterated food

So how do you protect yourself from consuming adulterated food? Here are some preventative ways.

  • Assess the safety of ingredients and additives.
  • Assure sanitary processing, packaging, storage, transportation, and handling.
  • Conduct inspections.
  • Determine that the ingredients and additives can be used in the food according to federal regulations.
  • Devise and implement a food safety or hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plan.
  • Ensure that inspections are ongoing (e.g., meatpacking plants by FSIS), periodic (processing plant inspections by FDA), or voluntary (e.g., fish inspections by the department of commerce).

Why choose Ethen Ostroff Law?

For a successful food safety litigation lawsuit, the victim needs the support and assistance of a qualified lawyer who is familiar with litigating and investigating food safety issues, injuries, and damages. 

At Ethen Ostroff Law, we can provide you with the best references for food safety lawyers in Philadelphia. Depending on your needs, we can find the right legal counsel, so you don’t have to worry about filing your claim. From gathering evidence to proving your entitlement to compensation, a trusted food safety attorney will be with you every step of the way. Call us at 610-510-8883 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

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