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Mislabeled Food Appears In Area Markets

Posted on in Food Poisoning

A Colorado food processing company which failed to include peanuts in an on-label ingredient list blamed the incident on an “inadvertent packaging error.” The mistake could lead to severe, and possibly fatal, allergic reactions in millions of people.

Broomfield-based WhiteWave Foods distributed over 62,000 mislabeled boxes of Horizon Cheddar Sandwich Crackers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and 28 other states. The inner label states that the sandwich crackers contain peanut butter, but the outer label only says that the package contains “cheddar” sandwich crackers.

WhiteWave claims it is working with its partners to recover unsold product and that it has “taken measures to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Food Allergy Every three minutes, someone visits an emergency room seeking treatment for anaphylaxis or a similar dangerous food allergy reaction. Specifically, over three million Americans have a peanut or tree nut allergy, and even trace amounts can cause a life-threatening reaction. Thousands of other people are allergic to fish, eggs, shellfish, and other food products.

These reactions are treatable, as long as the victim gets the proper medication almost immediately after exposure to the allergen. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to tell whether or not a person is having a serious allergic reaction until severe symptoms appear.

  • Early Onset: At first, a victim may experience gastrointestinal pain, a moderate skin rash, and respiratory systems, as the body produces antibodies to fight off the dangerous substance.
  • Later Symptoms: Quickly thereafter, these immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies bond to the allergen, producing dangerous histamine levels. At this point, the victim's symptoms progress to much more serious items, including low blood pressure and dilated blood vessels.
  • Anaphylactic Shock: The increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and sudden weakness can quickly lead to anaphylaxis which, in turn, cause unconsciousness and death.

The entire process may only take a few minutes, or even a few seconds, so any exposure to an allergen can be life-threatening, especially if the victims are not close to a hospital or not with people who are familiar with their condition. Plaintiffs in a food allergy case may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, because there are typically so many victims in these matters, the case may eventually become a class action.

A food allergy can be serious or even fatal. Contact our office for a free phone consultation with an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury attorney. There are typically no upfront legal fees in these cases.

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