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Illinois food poisoning attorneysThere are multiple ways that people can suffer injuries after consuming foods or food products. In many cases, injuries occur because of foodborne illnesses that cause food poisoning. However, people can also suffer serious harm if they have an allergic reaction to certain foods. It may be possible to hold a restaurant, grocery store, or manufacturer of food products liable for these types of injuries if it can be demonstrated that they acted negligently or did not take the proper measures to protect people’s safety. For example, a person may suffer an allergic reaction if they were not informed that a dish or product contained ingredients that could cause them harm, or cross-contamination may occur at a restaurant or grocery store, causing a person to be exposed to a harmful allergen.

Common Food Allergies and Allergic Reactions

While there are many different types of foods that can cause allergic reactions, some food allergies that commonly affect people in the United States include:

  • Milk, which is included in dairy products such as cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts and tree nuts, including cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts
  • Fish and shellfish, including shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and scallops
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Food allergies can range from mild to severe, and their effects can vary depending on the amount of a food a person consumes and the way their body reacts to it. Some allergies may cause abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, while others may cause rashes, hives, and itching on different parts of the body, or a person may become dizzy or lightheaded. In more serious cases, an allergic reaction may cause swelling in the tongue, mouth, or throat, which can affect a person’s ability to breathe, or a person may experience low blood pressure or shortness of breath.

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Nuts Have History of Food Poisoning OutbreaksWhen people mention the health risks associated with eating nuts, allergies may be what first comes to mind. Many parents are aware of how exposure to nut products can endanger children with nut allergies. Food manufacturers and sellers can be liable if a person has an allergic reaction because the product did not disclose that it contained nuts. However, there have also been several instances in the U.S. of food poisoning that is related to nuts being sold in stores. Though they are rarer than allergic reactions, the outbreaks can be harmful to those who consume the contaminated nuts.

Illinois Company Recalls Macadamia Nuts

NOW Health Group Inc. has voluntarily recalled packages of macadamia nuts because of potential salmonella contamination. The Illinois-based company discovered the contamination when testing one of its macadamia nut lots, some of which had already been packaged and sent to retailers. The recall applies to packages that are labeled “NOW Real Food Raw Macadamia Nuts” with a best by date of 01/2021. Symptoms from a salmonella infection can take six hours to six days to appear and usually include diarrhea, cramping, and fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization or antibiotics.

Though this case applies to macadamia nuts, past food poisoning cases have involved a variety of shelled and unshelled nuts:

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Protecting Yourself From Food Allergies at RestaurantsAll restaurant patrons trust the food preparers and servers to provide them with a safe meal. For people with food allergies, a mistake can cause serious or even fatal health consequences. You can receive damages by filing a lawsuit against a restaurant that served you food with an allergen in it. However, it is more difficult to prove liability in a food allergy case than a food poisoning case because the restaurant is not strictly liable for food allergies. As a diner, you share some responsibility for informing the restaurant of your allergy and educating yourself on their food. By communicating your allergy concerns to a restaurant, you are protecting yourself against contaminated food and establishing clear liability if you have an allergic reaction.

Advanced Preparation

When investigating a restaurant, you should learn about the types of ingredients they use and their food preparation methods. Some restaurants may include this information on their website, but you should also contact the restaurant in case the information on the website is out-of-date. When in contact with the restaurant, you should ask:

  • For a current list of ingredients used in their dishes;
  • What steps the kitchen staff takes to prevent cross-contamination with food allergies;
  • How often the staff is trained in dealing with food allergies; and
  • Whether a manager trained in food allergen safety is always present at the restaurant.

If a restaurant cannot or will not answer these questions, it may not be safe to dine at that restaurant.

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