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Chicago food poisoning attorneysMany food products are recalled in the U.S. each year because of the risk of food poisoning related to the products. Unfortunately, the recalls often do not occur until after at least several people become sick from eating the food. For instance, Wawona Packing Company recalled packages of peaches in August because of suspected salmonella contamination after 68 confirmed cases and 14 hospitalizations. The peaches are sold in Aldi stores in nine states, including Illinois. Despite efforts to warn the public, some people become sick from eating a contaminated product even after a recall. To protect yourself, you need to know where to find information on food recalls and what to do if you have a recalled product.

How Do I Learn About Food Recalls?

Food recall orders often originate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are the government organizations that investigate outbreaks of foodborne illness. Sometimes, the producer will issue a voluntary recall of the product after it learns of possible contamination. National and local media will often report prominent food recalls, and the FDA and CDC can also communicate directly with the public through social media. If you want to be proactive in learning about food recalls, you can sign up for food safety alerts from the FDA and CDC or check their websites, where they post details about recent recalls.

What Should I Do If I Have a Recalled Product?

The recall notice will give instructions on how to identify a recalled product and possible health risks related to the product. If you find a recalled food product at your home, you should:

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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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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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Developing Reactive Arthritis After Food PoisoningA case of food poisoning can affect your health long past your initial symptoms. One such lingering malady is reactive arthritis, a form of joint pain that can occur after your body has recovered from a bacterial infection. Reactive arthritis is uncommon – not everyone who contracts the same strain of bacterial infection will develop it – but can be very painful and last for several months, if not longer. If you can trace your reactive arthritis back to your food poisoning case, you may be able to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your illness.

How Do People Get Reactive Arthritis?

Reactive arthritis is a form of rheumatoid arthritis that gets its name from researchers believing that it is an autoimmune disorder that reacts to a bacterial infection. For some people, their immune system continues to respond to the initial bacterial infection, causing inflammation in their joints. Reactive arthritis can occur after contracting a food-borne illness or a sexually transmitted infection. Food poisoning cases associated with reactive arthritis include:

Studies show that reactive arthritis most commonly occurs in people age 20 to 40 and that some people are genetically more prone to developing the condition.

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Cyclospora in Salads Sickens Dozens in IllinoisMore than 200 people in the midwestern U.S. have been diagnosed with cyclosporiasis after eating packaged salads sold in grocery stores. Illinois is one of the states that has been most affected by the cyclospora outbreak, with at least 57 people having been diagnosed from May 11 to June 17. The contamination has been traced to Fresh Express salad packages that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots. The product goes by different names depending on where the product is sold, including:

  • ALDI Little Salad Bar Garden Salads
  • Hy-Vee Garden Salad
  • Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Garden Salad
  • Walmart Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating whether there are additional contaminated Fresh Express salad packages that are sold under other names.

Dangers of Cyclosporiasis

At least 23 of the people recently diagnosed with cyclosporiasis have been hospitalized because of the severity of their symptoms. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal infection caused by consuming food or drink that contains the cyclospora parasite. Cyclospora is most commonly found in produce that is grown in tropical climates, where the parasite is most prevalent and can spread from the feces of humans and animals who have it.

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