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Histamines in Unrefrigerated Fish Cause Scombroid PoisoningAlfa International Seafood recently recalled its yellowfin tuna steaks that were available in Kroger stores in 16 states, including Illinois. Five cases of scombroid fish poisoning were connected to the steaks, which were sold from Aug. 20 to Sept. 7. Scombroid poisoning is a form of food poisoning that people can contract from eating fish that was not properly refrigerated. A restaurant or food company that sells you tainted fish may be liable for medical expenses or lost income related to your illness.

What Is Scombroid Poisoning?

People receive scombroid poisoning primarily from eating fish that have elevated levels of histamines. Scombroid poisoning has many of the familiar symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. However, the histamines may cause symptoms that are similar to an allergic reaction, such as:

  • Fever;
  • Hives;
  • Itching; and
  • A burning sensation in the mouth.

Most cases of scombroid poisoning subside on their own after a few hours. For severe cases, physicians may prescribe anti-histamines or recommend induced vomiting to remove the poison from the digestive system. The most severe reactions to scombroid poisoning are a racing heart, drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

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How Food Poisoning Can Occur at a CookoutLabor Day weekend is the last summer hurrah for many people. That means parties and cookouts for those who want to enjoy the warm weather. Unfortunately, food poisoning may ruin some people’s enjoyment – if not immediately, then in the days and weeks after. The host of a party at a private residence can be liable for your food poisoning, as long as their negligence was the cause of your illness. The host is not the one who is liable if they purchased a product that was later recalled. Here are a few ways that food preparation at a cookout can cause food poisoning:

  1. Undercooked Meat: Raw meat – particularly poultry, pork, and ground beef – has bacteria that is killed when the meat reaches a high enough temperature. Pork and steaks should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground beef to 160 degrees, and poultry to 165 degrees. The person preparing the meat should stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to determine the temperature. The eye test is not a reliable way to tell whether meat is done.
  2. Contaminated Surfaces: It is often necessary to prepare raw meat in the kitchen before taking it out to the grill. Any surface or utensil that comes in contact with the meat should be cleaned with hot, soapy water to prevent contamination. Raw meats should be kept separate from other foods, both in the refrigerator and the kitchen. There is a misconception that raw meats should be washed off before being cooked. Doing this may spread the bacteria and contaminate other surfaces.
  3. Improper Refrigeration: Perishable foods need to be refrigerated before and, in some cases, after they are prepared or served. Bacteria can grow in the food when left in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours. When you arrive at a party, it is possible that the perishable foods have already been sitting out and unrefrigerated for a while. Mayonnaise-based salads left outside for hours are common culprits for this type of food poisoning. Some foods can remain safe if they are continually heated.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney

If the food you ate at someone’s residence gave you food poisoning, there are two questions you should answer before filing a lawsuit:

  • Whose negligence was responsible for the food poisoning?; and
  • If it was the host, do you want to file a lawsuit against them?

The host may not personally pay your damages if their homeowner's insurance covers food poisoning, but taking a friend to court could damage your relationship. A Chicago food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, can help you decide whether it is worthwhile to file a lawsuit. Schedule a consultation by calling 312-981-0409.

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Marijuana Products Can Be Source of Mold, BacteriaA group of researchers has warned about the dangers of smoking or consuming marijuana, but not for the reason that you may expect. A 2017 study published in the journal “Clinical Microbiology and Infection” found mold and bacteria in the medicinal marijuana products being sold in northern California. The study’s authors said that the pathogens were so widespread that they could not recommend that anyone inhale or ingest raw or dried marijuana. The study highlights the potential dangers of commercial marijuana products in states such as Illinois, which is scheduled to legalize recreation marijuana at the start of 2020. A tainted marijuana product could cause severe illness or even death.

Contaminants Found

The 2017 study claimed that marijuana sold in California dispensaries tested positive for several harmful substances, including:

  • The fungi Cryptococcus, Mucor and Aspergillus; and
  • The bacteria E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii.

Whether through smoking or edibles, the fungi and bacteria can contaminate the user’s body and cause infection. People with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of becoming ill. The study’s authors could not confirm whether the heat of putting marijuana into baked goods or creating extracts would be enough to kill the fungi and bacteria.

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Salmonella Outbreak in Chicago Area

People in the Chicago area have recently been warned that there has been a salmonella outbreak at a grocery store in the Archer Heights neighborhood that has already infected six people. The people became sick after eating carnitas and other foods they purchased at the kitchen counter of the Supermercado Rivera according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Anyone who ate the food may have been exposed to the bacteria, and anyone who took the food home and froze it has been advised to discard the possible contaminated items. The food items in question are no longer available, and the store employees have been educated on proper food handling, as well as the dangers of improper handling techniques and storage.

What is Salmonella?

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Illinois food poisoning injury attorneyHealth is one of the most important things in life, and most of us do whatever we can to stay in good physical condition. The foods we consume play a large role in our physical health, and sometimes, food poisoning can happen if certain foods are not prepared properly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48 million people in America become sick from various types of food poisoning every year, and 128,000 of these cases result in hospitalization. Foodborne illnesses can be fatal, and anyone who prepares food should take the following steps to avoid the risk of infection:

  • Wash hands and clean cooking surfaces: Germs on an individual’s hands can spread to countertops and utensils, so it is important to wash one’s hands before cooking. Also, fruits and vegetables should be washed to remove any residual dirt or germs.
  • Keep raw food separate: Several types of bacteria can be found in raw meat and vegetables, with E. Coli being the most common. When preparing food, raw meat should be fully cooked before it is incorporated with the rest of the meal.
  • Cook to the correct temperature: All meats have an internal temperature they should be cooked to in order to kill the bacteria within. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure that the meat is cooked to the proper temperature.
  • Keep perishable foods in a refrigerator: Meats and dairy products are examples of perishable foods that should be stored in a refrigerator before and after a meal is prepared. Keeping perishables in a room temperature environment nurtures bacteria growth and increases the risk of food poisoning.

How Can I Protect Myself When Dining Out?

Thanks to the internet, consumers are able to read reviews about a certain restaurant before dining there. Other patrons can post reviews for future diners to make sure the establishment is clean and the food is prepared properly. When at a restaurant, consumers can protect themselves by:

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