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How Food Poisoning Can Occur at a Cookout

Posted on in Food Poisoning

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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