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California Man Arrested for Felony Food Poisoning

In most cases, food poisoning occurs because of an individual or group's negligence. This can be a restaurant failing to maintain a sterile kitchen environment, a produce manufacture failing to clean produce thoroughly before packaging it, a grocery store failing to remove a recalled product from its shelves, or even the host of a party leaving food at room temperature for hours, allowing harmful bacteria to develop in it. These are all examples of ignorance around food safety or callous handling of food products.

Sometimes, food poisoning is the result of a much more sinister behavior: intentional tampering. Recently, a man in California was arrested and charged with food tampering after he was observed pouring an unknown substance on two self-service food bars on surveillance videos from a Baht Fresh Mexican Grill and a Raley's grocery store. His actions are believed to be the cause of a few cases of food poisoning, one of which caused a 12-year-old victim to be hospitalized. This came after a similar incident in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where a man was found guilty of intentionally tampering with food by spraying mouse poison on fresh produce and on dishes at hot food bars.

When Food Tampering Occurs, Who is Liable for Victims' Damages?

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What is the Difference Between Food Poisoning and Foodborne Illness?

The terms “food poisoning” and “foodborne illness” are frequently used interchangeably online and in face-to-face conversations. Generally, they are understood to refer to the same thing, but the truth is that they actually refer to two distinct concepts. Foodborne illness is any illness caused by eating contaminated food. It can occur after consuming food contaminated with harmful bacteria or other pathogens. Food poisoning is a specific subset of foodborne illness. When an individual suffers from food poisoning, he or she suffers from the effects of consuming specific toxins.

If you experience symptoms of foodborne illness, keep yourself hydrated and get a sufficient amount of rest. In most cases, food poisoning and other types of foodborne illness can only be treated with rest, hydration, and avoiding certain foods while recovering. If you experience worsened symptoms or complications like dehydration, seek medical attention.

Food Poisoning Facts and Symptoms

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Hepatitis A Outbreak is Linked to Frozen Strawberries by the FDA

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have linked a recent outbreak of Hepatitis A to frozen strawberries imported to the country by the International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP). The strawberries were received at five distribution centers throughout the nation and sold under various regional brand names. In October 2016, ICAPP recalled the strawberries, but by then, they might have reached consumers and could have been part of food service operations as late as early November 2016. As of late October 2016, 130 people reported suffering from Hepatitis A after possibly consuming the strawberries.

Hepatitis A, like many other types of food poisoning, can have serious complications for a victim, such as reduced liver function. There is a vaccine for Hepatitis A that can protect a patient for up to one year.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

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New Food Poisoning Hotline in Iowa Aims to Reduce Outbreaks

In Iowa, food poisoning victims have a new resource to turn toward for help: IowaSic, the new statewide food poisoning hotline. This hotline is a joint initiative between the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. The hotline is intended to help these agencies identify potential food poisoning outbreaks in the state before they occur.

This hotline was developed after 127 people in Iowa, Nebraska, and the surrounding states fell ill during the 2013 Cyclospora outbreak. According to Dr. Patricia Quinlisk of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa was the first state to identify the cause of that outbreak, which allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Food and Drug Administration to take action to contain it. If IowaSic had existed in 2013, the outbreak could potentially have been contained sooner. If IowaSic proves to be a successful way of managing and preventing food poisoning outbreaks, other states could follow suit in the future by developing their own hotlines. Currently, Chicago food poisoning victims can make reports to Foodborne Chicago, a website that provides resources to victims. Nationwide, victims can make reports to foodsafety.gov.

What Happens When a Food Poisoning Victim Calls IowaSic?

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What Can Contaminate my Food and Make me Sick?

Sometimes, food poisoning occurs as the result of a foreign particle in the victim's food, rather than due to the presence of harmful bacteria like Salmonella or Listeria. In certain cases, the cause of illness is the bacteria that enters the food through these foreign particles and in other cases, the victim suffers a unique type of illness or injury due to the specific contaminant. In any case of food poisoning or a contaminant-related injury, medical attention should be sought in a timely manner if the victim's symptoms do not resolve on their own within a few days or if the victim is pregnant, a young child, elderly, or otherwise has a weakened immune system.

Chemical Contamination

It is important to note that many foods naturally contain chemicals. In fact, chemicals are all around us, both man-made and naturally occurring. But certain chemicals should not be in certain foods and when they are present in foods, they can pose a threat of illness. Examples of these chemicals include residues of veterinary medicines, pesticides, chemicals present in food packaging, and industrial chemicals from the plants where the foods are processed and packaged.

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