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Who is Liable When a Victim Suffers an Allergic Reaction from a Non-food Item?

Posted on in Food Poisoning

Who is Liable When a Victim Suffers an Allergic Reaction from a Non-food Item?

When you use a consumer product, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is safe for you to use. Many of the food allergens that can cause uncomfortable and harmful reactions can also be found in non-food products. Although you do not eat these products, you can still suffer an allergic reaction just by coming into contact with them.

Your responsibility is to ensure that a product is safe for you to use according to the information available to you. The product's manufacturer should provide you with this information, but many are not held to the same strict standards to which the food industry is held. A food manufacturer or vendor is liable for food poisoning damages if it does not take care to prevent consumer illness and generally, manufacturers and sellers of non-food items can be liable for these kinds of damages, as well. However, their labeling is voluntary and can contain alternative terms for specific ingredients. There is also no standard definition for “hypoallergenic,” so use products with this label carefully.

Allergic Reactions to Lotions, Cosmetics, and Skincare Products

Lotions and other topical products can put the user at risk of allergic reaction because they are absorbed into the skin. This is true of “natural” products as well as mass-manufactured products from large companies. A few allergens to look out for in cosmetics and skincare products include:

  • Nut oils;
  • Cow and goat milk; and
  • Coconut.

Toys and Children's Products

Many different toys and craft products contain food allergens. For example, play dough contains wheat. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America maintains a list of children's products that can contain food allergens to make it easier for parents, teachers, and caregivers to identify the products that can pose an allergy risk.


Many different medications contain food allergens. Examples include egg, gelatin, and other animal proteins can be found in certain vaccines and various food allergens that can be found in a variety of medications. It is also possible to suffer an allergic reaction from another compound in a medication, such as suffering from an aspirin allergy or from antibiotics.

Disclose all of your known allergies and your history with specific medications with your doctor. This way, your doctor will be able to prescribe alternative medications if necessary. Prescribing a medicine that contains an allergen despite knowing your potential for a reaction is an act of medical malpractice.

Work with an Experienced Itasca Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you suffered an allergic reaction because a non-food product was not properly labeled, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim against the product's manufacturer or seller. To learn more about your rights when you are facing damages related to an allergic reaction, contact our team of experienced food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

(image courtesy of Gustavo Spindula)

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