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Illinois Salad Producer Has Third Food Poisoning Incident in Last Three YearsThe number of people who have been affected by the cyclospora salad outbreak has increased since we last reported it in June. As of July 24, 641 people in 11 states are confirmed to have contracted cyclospora, as well as more than 100 other people in Canada. Illinois has been the state with the most people infected, with 241 reported cases. Dozens of people have been hospitalized but no one has died. The cyclospora outbreak was linked to garden salads produced by Fresh Express in its Streamwood, Illinois, facility. Fresh Express has recalled the packaged salads, which were sold under various names at Jewel-Osco, ALDI, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, and ShopRite. The fact that this is the third food poisoning outbreak in three years connected to Fresh Express and its Streamwood facility gives an additional reason for concern.

2018 Cyclospora Outbreak

From May to July in 2018, 511 people from 15 states, including Illinois, contracted cyclospora after eating salads sold at McDonald’s restaurants in the Midwest. Fresh Express was the supplier for McDonald’s salads at the time, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that a package of romaine lettuce and carrots from the Streamwood facility had tested positive for cyclospora. McDonald’s stopped selling salads that it purchased from Fresh Express and switched to a different supplier.

2019 E. Coli Outbreak

In November 2019, 10 people from five states, including one from Illinois, contracted a strain of E. coli that the FDA believed originated from Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits. The strain of E. coli was different from the strain in a concurrent incident involving contaminated romaine lettuce grown in California. The FDA was unable to determine which ingredient in the salad kit was contaminated and announced that the outbreak was over on Jan. 15.

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What Are the Different Types of Botulism?Botulism is a rare but dangerous bacterial infection that is often caused by food poisoning. Symptoms from botulism start with weakness in the face, which can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Symptoms continue down the body, often causing abdominal pain and vomiting. A mild case of botulism can take weeks to months to recover from, while a severe case could take years. If left untreated, botulism is potentially fatal. One of the tricky aspects of tracking the origin of a botulism case is that there are multiple ways that a person can contract the botulinum toxin. Knowing which type of botulism you have can determine whether you will be successful in filing a food poisoning lawsuit:

  1. Foodborne Botulism: The most common form of botulism is the type that you get from eating contaminated food. When processed foods are not properly sealed, the botulinum toxin is able to grow to the point that it becomes dangerous for consumption. Botulism is commonly associated with canning fruits and vegetables at home, when people may not tightly seal their preserved foods. However, it is also possible to contract botulism from commercially processed foods.
  2. Infant Botulism: Infants can develop botulism when spores in their intestines grow and become toxic. An infant’s digestive system is not able to fully break down spores that naturally appear in foods such as honey. As a result, the spores may linger in their intestines and grow.
  3. Adult Intestinal Toxemia: Similar to infant botulism, some adults have difficulty digesting spores, allowing them to become toxic bacteria inside the digestive tract. This is a rare condition that is most likely to occur in someone who has pre-existing gastrointestinal problems.
  4. Wound Botulism: People can develop botulism if bacteria infect an opening on the body and become toxic. Wound botulism most commonly occurs with people who suffer a severe injury or use drugs that they inject into their bodies.
  5. Iatrogenic Botulism: You may have heard of botulinum toxin used by another name: Botox. Cosmetic surgeons inject small amounts of the botulinum toxin into patients’ faces in order to remove wrinkles. An overdose of the botulinum toxin can cause botulism.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney

People diagnosed with botulism may be able to quickly narrow down the likely source of their infection if they have never had cosmetic injections, are drug-free, or have not suffered serious wounds recently. An Illinois food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, will help you track down the source of your foodborne illness. Schedule a consultation by calling 312-981-0409.

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Which Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Food Poisoning?Tracing the source of your food poisoning can be more difficult than you might expect. Food that is contaminated with harmful bacteria does not always look or taste strange. Symptoms can manifest in a short as an hour or as long as weeks. A wide variety of foods can be responsible for food poisoning. When trying to solve the mystery of a food poisoning case, your clues are the type of food poisoning you have and the foods you have eaten recently. A doctor will identify the food poisoning and its possible source, but you must create a retroactive food journal to identify the source. To help, here are seven foods most often associated with food poisoning cases:

  1. Poultry: Raw poultry – such as chicken, turkey, and duck – are near the top of most lists of products that can cause food poisoning. Poultry has a high rate of bacterial contamination that can make you sick if it is undercooked.
  2. Raw Produce: Fruits, vegetables, and spouts can carry bacteria on their leaves and skins, often coming from the soil and water where they are grown. Freezing fresh produce may not kill the bacteria. It is important to wash raw produce before eating it.
  3. Seafood: Fish and shellfish can become contaminated if they consume harmful bacteria while alive or are not properly refrigerated after being caught. In some cases, cooking the seafood may not be enough to eliminate the toxins.
  4. Deli Meats: Deli meats can contain bacteria that grew during processing or after improper refrigeration. Some deli meats are commonly eaten without being cooked again, such as sliced sandwich meats. Others, such as hot dogs and bacon, should be fully cooked to reduce the chance of food poisoning.
  5. Eggs: Eggs have a high risk of salmonella poisoning if they are eaten raw or undercooked. It is not advised to eat dishes that are meant to have raw eggs.
  6. Unpasteurized Dairy: Food poisoning from milk was once common before the pasteurization process became standard. Unpasteurized dairy products have not been heated to kill the bacteria that can grow in raw milk.
  7. Rice: Rice can have bacterial spores that continue to live inside it while uncooked. However, the cooking process does not kill the spores, which may grow if the rice is left in a warm, moist environment. Cooked rice should be served immediately and refrigerated afterward.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney

Identifying the source of your food poisoning will help you determine whether you should file a food poisoning lawsuit. A Chicago food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, can help you collect compensation from the party that was negligent in handling or preparing your food. Schedule a consultation by calling 847-840-8950.

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