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Chicago food poisoning attorneysEven though consumers in the United States expect the food products they purchase to be safe, the systems that are meant to protect against the spread of dangerous pathogens sometimes fail. When food that is tainted by viruses, bacteria, or other toxic substances is made available for purchase, this can result in food poisoning, which can cause long-lasting injuries to those who are affected. Salmonella is one of the most common sources of foodborne illnesses, and a variety of food products have been found to be contaminated by this bacteria. In 2020, one of the largest salmonella outbreaks was caused by peaches sold at grocery stores in multiple different states.

Recall of Prima Wawona Peaches

A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis occurred between June and August of 2020. According to the CDC, 101 people in 17 states were infected, and while no deaths occurred, 28 people were hospitalized. These infections were traced to peaches packed and distributed by Prima Wawona and the Wawona Packing Company. This led the company to recall both bagged and loose peaches that had been distributed to grocery stores in multiple states. 

The recall included peaches sold nationwide at the following stores:

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Chicago food poisoning lawyersThis past year, illness has taken on a new meaning altogether. The wide range of COVID-19 symptoms can leave you thinking that any sense of sickness can be attributed to the virus. With symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, it may be difficult to decipher if your symptoms are a result of COVID-19, the “stomach flu,” or a case of food poisoning. For many, COVID-19 poses a serious risk to themselves or their elderly loved ones, which is why it is critical to know why you are experiencing your symptoms and if your condition is contagious. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is always advisable to seek out proper testing to rule out COVID-19, but there is no definitive test for the stomach flu or food poisoning. Luckily, there are a few differences that can help you determine what the real driver of your symptoms is.

Symptom Differences

While the stomach flu and food poisoning share the symptoms of stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, there is one key difference between the two: the length of the symptoms. The stomach flu is a quick illness and its symptoms only last one to two days, but food poisoning symptoms can last for several days. Those who have the stomach flu are contagious for one to five days, with symptoms appearing for 24 to 48 hours. Food poisoning, though, has symptoms that linger for days on end. The stomach flu is also much more common in the fall and winter months, whereas food poisoning can happen any time of the year.

The Causes

Another way that you can attempt to narrow down what you have is by looking back at your interactions over the past few days. The stomach flu is transmitted from person to person, so if you have a friend or family member who is also feeling under the weather, they may have passed it on to you. If, however, you went out to eat with this person and you both got sick simultaneously, food poisoning may be the culprit. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria in food, typically undercooked meat or improperly washed vegetables. Thus, the meal that you had out last night may have been contaminated and led to your upset stomach. 

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Illinois food poisoning lawyersThis fall, food poisoning outbreaks have surged throughout the country, including recent E. coli outbreaks. The FDA and CDC have been busy investigating illnesses in this fall’s third multistate outbreak of E. coli. According to the CDC, infections have been reported in six states, with at least 12 people infected and five hospitalized and one-third of all reported cases coming from Illinois. The identified source, however, was distributed to 19 states and Puerto Rico, leaving a large number of people at risk of contracting food poisoning. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we fight for those who have fallen ill to foodborne illnesses as a result of food vendors’ negligence, including products sold in grocery stores across the nation.

The Source of the Outbreak

The recently released CDC notice connects the E. coli outbreak to a brand of romaine lettuce that is sold in grocery stores nationwide, including Walmart. The lettuce is sold under the name Tanimura & Antle, and the recalled lettuce was labeled with a “packed on” date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020. The lettuce was lab tested by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the outbreak strain was identified in a sample of the company’s single-head romaine lettuce. Illinois holds the highest number of cases, with four recorded. Though the E. coli strain was found in the sampled lettuce, the CDC stated that they were unable to definitively determine whether the Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce did indeed cause the illnesses. In order to protect consumers, those who have purchased the lettuce have been advised to avoid consuming the product.

Where Does the Bacteria Come From?

E. coli is typically transmitted through the consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked meats, raw milk, and particular fruits and vegetables. The bacteria is due to fecal contamination. For fruits and vegetables, such as the lettuce listed above, the contamination is often due to contact with feces from domestic animals or wild animals during the plants’ cultivation. For both meat and produce, contaminated water can also be the culprit. Fecally contaminated water that is used during the food preparation process can lead to E. coli outbreaks upon consumption.

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Chicago food poisoning attorneyYou have likely had the experience of eating a meal that tasted great at a restaurant, but quickly turned to days filled with a sick stomach. When you go out to eat, you expect to have a safe and healthy experience along with tasting great food. Unfortunately, eating at a restaurant can sometimes result in food poisoning. In fact, approximately 48 million cases of food poisoning occur each year. 

Depending on how the food was prepared and whether or not the restaurant’s cooking surfaces were properly sanitized, certain germs that are consumed can lead to food poisoning. This illness can range from mild to severe depending on the germs that you ingested and the way that your body reacts to them. 

If you have experienced any of the following symptoms after consuming contaminated food, you may have been a victim of food poisoning, and you may be able to take legal action:

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Illinois food poisoning attorneysFood poisoning is a common sickness that some people will unavoidably suffer from. Even with all of the regulations on the food industry in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that one in six people contract food poisoning each year. You may think you know how to prevent food poisoning and what to do if you get it. However, there are common misconceptions about food poisoning that can lead to mistakes in identifying the source of the poisoning and treating it. 

Avoiding these misconceptions if you plan to file a food poisoning lawsuit:

  1. I Cannot Get Food Poisoning If I Wash and Fully Cook My Food: Proper food preparation is one of the most important ways that you can reduce the risk of food poisoning but is not guaranteed to prevent it. Some strains of bacteria are resistant to hot and cold temperatures. Washing and scrubbing the food may not be enough if the bacteria has spread inside of the skin or surface.
  2. What I Most Recently Ate Must Have Caused My Sickness: Some bacteria cause food poisoning symptoms within hours of ingestion, but there are others that take days or more than a week before you notice the symptoms. With this in mind, you need to recount what you have eaten for several days before you started feeling sick.
  3. That Meal Could Not Have Made Me Sick Because Other People Were Fine: Multiple people becoming sick after eating the same meal is a likely sign of food poisoning. However, you cannot discount a meal as the source of your food poisoning just because no one else reported being sick. People respond differently to the same bacteria based on factors such as how strong their immune system is.
  4. Stomach Problems Are the Only Symptoms of Food Poisoning: Most food poisoning cases have similar symptoms related to your digestive system, such as stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, food poisoning can cause other chronic ailments. Food poisoning cases have been connected to joint pain, nerve damage, and kidney failure.
  5. I Do Not Need to See a Doctor: Many people recover from food poisoning on their own after a few days of rest. They may see a doctor only if their symptoms become bad enough that it is a medical emergency. You should not wait until you are hospitalized before getting treated for your food poisoning. A doctor can identify what type of food poisoning you have and how it should be treated.

Contact a Chicago Foodborne Illness Attorney

One more misconception about food poisoning is that you do not need to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Food poisoning can result in expensive medical bills, lost time at work, and long-term symptoms. An Illinois food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, will make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your illness. To schedule a consultation, call 312-981-0409.

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