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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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Chicago food poisoning attorneyThis year has been a challenging time for businesses everywhere, especially those deemed essential workers. Government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), fall within this category and have continued to work despite the threat of the COVID-19 virus. As the pandemic reaches its tenth month in the U.S., many businesses have become accustomed to working during these unprecedented times. FSIS recently released its annual accomplishments in modernizing the agency and fulfilling its mission to prevent foodborne illness throughout the United States.

Working During the Pandemic

FSIS employs approximately 9,000 employees who are spread across laboratories, federally regulated establishments, import establishments, or in-commerce facilities. According to the agency’s fiscal year report, no FSIS regulated establishments closed as a result of absent inspection personnel. The agency called on other USDA employees when necessary to supplement any missing workers due to the pandemic. This allowed FSIS to inspect over 166 million head of livestock, 9.68 billion poultry carcasses, 2.5 billion pounds of egg products, and more.

Improving and Modernizing 

Each year, FSIS strives to modernize its inspection systems and operations to protect public health. In 2019, the agency published the final rule on the Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection, as this is a common source of foodborne illnesses. The new rule includes two parts: mandatory microbial testing requirements at all swine facilities and the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS). The NSIS requires additional offline inspections that directly impact public health while continuing 100 percent carcass-by-carcass inspection. Since being passed in 2019, seven plants have successfully converted to this new system in the past year. 

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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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Chicago food poisoning attorneysYour child’s health is of great importance to you as a parent, and you do not want to think that the food you have given them may have made them sick. Unfortunately, children can be victims of food poisoning and, depending on the type of food poisoning, they could be even more vulnerable to the symptoms than adults. Assuming that you have taken precautions about food safety, it is possible that the food producer or restaurant may be responsible for your child’s food poisoning, which may mean that you can receive compensation for their pain and suffering by filing a lawsuit.

How to Identify Food Poisoning in Children

There are several common symptoms that may appear in people who are suffering from foodborne illnesses, including:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headaches

Because there are multiple illnesses that could cause these same symptoms, you may not know for certain whether your child’s illness is food poisoning without a diagnosis from their pediatrician. The pediatrician will likely want to know a history of the meals that your child has recently eaten. Even if you did not get food poisoning from eating the same meal as your child, your child may have been more vulnerable to the harmful bacteria in the food if they have a weaker immune system.

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Chicago food poisoning attorneysThomson International, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of its red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions due to a salmonella outbreak that has spread across 34 states. There have been 396 confirmed cases of salmonella, including 10 in Illinois, and 59 reported hospitalizations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating the multi-state outbreak of a strain called Salmonella Newport, with illnesses starting as early as June 19. It traced back the illness to red onions sold by Thomson International, who issued the recall on Aug. 1. The FDA has not yet ruled out whether the contaminated onions could be coming from more than one supplier.

Details About the Recall

Though the FDA believes that red onions were the source of the salmonella, the recall includes all varieties of Thomson International’s onions because of the risk of cross-contamination. Thomson International distributes its onions to retailers, restaurants, and wholesalers in all 50 states and has several different labels, including:

  • El Competitor
  • Hartley’s Best
  • Food Lion
  • Imperial Fresh
  • Majestic
  • Kroger
  • Onions 52
  • Tender Loving Care
  • Thomson Premium
  • TLC Thomson International
  • Utah Onions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises anyone who believes they have purchased a carton or sack of the contaminated onions to throw it out immediately, sanitize any surfaces that the onions may have contacted, and dispose of any other foods that the onions may have contaminated. To prevent infection from onions used in restaurants, you should ask the preparer where the onions came from. If you cannot confirm whether the onions have been recalled, it is advised that you do not eat them.

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