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Food Poisoning

Every year, 48 million people get food poisoning. That’s 1 in 6 people. Of those 48 million, there are 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year - from food poisoning.

These are preventable deaths. If you or a loved one has been a victim, speak out. Help our nation create higher standards for its food supply chain.

Jump to topic
  • Food Poisoning Overview
  • What Is Food Poisoning?
  • What Causes Food Poisoning?
    • Bacteria
    • Salmonella
      • What Are the Sources of Salmonella?
      • What Salmonella Outbreaks Have Occurred?
    • Botulism
      • What Are the Sources of Botulism?
      • What Botulism Outbreaks Have Occurred?
    • E.Coli
      • What Are the Sources of E.Coli?
      • What E.Coli Outbreaks Have Occurred?
    • Listeria
      • What Are the Sources of Listeria?
      • What Listeria Outbreaks Have Occurred?
    • Other Bacteria
    • Viruses
    • Parasites
  • What Are Symptoms of Food Poisoning?
    • What Are Symptoms of Salmonellosis?
      • What Are Symptoms of Dehydration?
      • What Complications Can Occur from Salmonella?
      • What Are the Risk Factors for Salmonellosis?
    • What Are the Symptoms of Botulism?
      • What Complications Can Occur from Botulism?
    • What Are the Symptoms of E.Coli?
      • What Complications Can Occur from E.Coli?
      • What Are the Risk Factors for E.Coli?
    • What Are the Symptoms of Listeria?
      • What Complications Can Occur from Listeria?
      • What Are the Risk Factors for Listeria?
  • What Is the Treatment for Food Poisoning?
    • What Is the Treatment for Salmonellosis?
    • What Is the Treatment for Botulism?
    • What Is the Treatment for E.Coli?
    • What Is the Treatment for Listeria?
  • How Can Food Poisoning Be Prevented at Home?
    • How Can Salmonella Poisoning Be Prevented?
    • How Can Botulism Poisoning Be Prevented?
    • How Can E.Coli Poisoning Be Prevented?
    • How Can Listeria Poisoning Be Prevented?
  • What Are the Commercial Responsibilities of Businesses to Prevent Food Poisoning?
  • Food Poisoning Lawsuits
    • Food Poisoning Settlements
    • Salmonella Lawsuits
    • Botulism Lawsuits
    • E.Coli Lawsuits
    • Listeria Lawsuits
  • Food Poisoning Lawyers

Food Poisoning Overview

Even though the American food supply is generally considered to be safe, 48 million people still get sick from food poisoning every year. When food poisoning is held to be the fault of a commercial establishment like a restaurant or a food processing company, victims may be eligible for compensation.

A man in Northern California received a $1 million settlement after getting food poisoning from contaminated raw oysters in 1993. While million-dollar settlements may be rare, victims of food poisoning may be eligible to have medical causes, pain and suffering, lost wages, and wrongful death of a loved one compensated.

What Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is any sickness caused by eating food that has been contaminated. Food poisoning can be caused by chemicals contaminating the food, but it’s more commonly caused by contact with microorganisms.

Contamination can occur at any point during the food preparation process, from its origins at the farm to delivery to the table. Food contamination can even occur at home due to improper hygiene or cooking practices. When food contamination occurs in a commercial environment in food processing, preparation, packaging, or storage, companies may be liable for compensation for any illnesses or injuries that result.

Symptoms of food poisoning usually involve gastrointestinal complaints, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, toxins from foodborne illness can affect other parts of the body. Some types of food poisoning may be life-threatening, particularly for certain groups of people such as the very young or old, and pregnant women.

Victims of food contamination whose foodborne illness was caused by a commercial establishment or company may need to consider a food poisoning lawsuit in order to seek compensation for their injuries. Compensation in past food poisoning lawsuits has included financial awards for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages.

What Causes Food Poisoning?

The term food poisoning describes any type of food contamination which creates illness. This may be from chemical substances but more commonly involve infectious organisms. Bacteria or toxins created by other microorganisms are the most common types of foodborne illness, but infectious food poisoning can also be caused by parasites, viruses, and fungal organisms. The most common, well-known, or deadly foodborne illnesses have usually come from Botulism, E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, but other organisms may also be harmful.

Most Common

Contaminant

Onset of symptoms

Foods affected and the means of transmission

Clostridium botulinum toxin (Botulism)

12 to 72 hours

Improperly canned foods (home and commercial), smoked or salted fish, foods kept at warm temperatures for too long. Opening a contaminated can may produce a “hissing” noise due to gas formation.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157: H7

1 to 8 days

Beef that was contaminated with feces during slaughter, vegetables contaminated at the grower, unpasteurized milk, and water contaminated with raw manure which can be in any food product.

Listeria

1 to 90 days

Hot dogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, foods with dry dairy product ingredients, and unwashed raw produce like melons that are contaminated by rind or peel. Survives refrigeration and in some cases, freezing.

Salmonella

1 to 3 days

Raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk, or egg yolks. It can be spread to vegetables or other foods by equipment like knives, cutting surfaces, or an infected food handler.

Less Common

Campylobacter

2 to 5 days

Meat and poultry contaminated with animal feces from inadequately cleaned machinery, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated water.

Clostridium perfringens

8 to 16 hours

Meats, stews, and gravies mainly spread when serving dishes do not keep food at hot enough temperature.

Giardia lamblia

1 to 2 weeks

Raw produce and contaminated water. May be spread by an infected food handler.

Hepatitis A

28 days

Raw produce and shellfish from contaminated water. May be spread by an infected food handler.

Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses)

12 to 48 hours

Raw produce and shellfish from contaminated water. May be spread by an infected food handler.

Rotavirus

1 to 3 days

Raw produce. It may be spread by an infected food handler.

Shigella

24 to 48 hours

Seafood and raw produce. May be spread by an infected food handler.

Staphylococcus aureus

1 to 6 hours

Meats, prepared salads, cream sauces, and filled pastries. May be spread by hand contact, coughing and sneezing.

Vibrio vulnificus

1 to 7 days

Raw or undercooked oysters, mussels, clams, and whole scallops. May be spread through contaminated seawater.

Bacteria

The most common cause of food poisoning is bacteria. There are a variety of different types of bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. Of those, salmonella is by far the most common. The CDC has linked more than 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning a year to salmonella. 20,000 of those cases were serious enough to require hospitalization.

Food poisoning from bacteria can range from mild to severe and can even cause death.

Salmonella

Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning in the US. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness called salmonellosis that results in fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea in most people who are infected. Symptoms of a salmonella infection typically show up as early as six hours after injecting contaminated food or as late as six days afterward and then can last for between four and seven days. Less commonly, symptoms can start to develop several weeks later or last for several weeks.

What Are the Sources of Salmonella?

Salmonella can come from any contaminated or raw mean, poultry, egg yolks, or milk. The bacteria can survive cooking if it’s inadequate. It can also be spread from contaminated food by knives, cutting boards or other surfaces, and even the person handling the food. The most common causes of contamination are undercooking food and poor hygiene practices in the kitchen.

The most common sources of salmonella contamination are from:

  • Salad greens or raw vegetables that haven’t been thoroughly washed
  • Raw unwashed fruits
  • Undercooked or raw:
    • Eggs
    • Seafood
    • Meat
    • Poultry

Contamination may originate in the fields when produce is irrigated with contaminated water. It may also occur during commercial food processing or may begin in the kitchen when raw meat juices come into contact with foods that are eaten raw such as salads. It may also be caused by people who do not adequately wash their hands after using the toilet, changing a diaper, touching a pet, or working with raw foods.

What Salmonella Outbreaks Have Occurred?

According to the CDC, about 1.35 million Americans become infected with Salmonella every year. For most of these cases, the symptoms are mild. Many may not even know that they had salmonella poisoning. But for an estimated 26,500 people, the symptoms are serious enough to require hospitalization. Of those, 420 people die each year of salmonellosis.

There are multiple types of salmonella bacteria, of which the most common is Salmonella Typhi. This bacteria can cause Typhoid fever. In the United States, the other common salmonella bacteria is Salmonella Enteritidis. The two types of bacteria have similar symptoms to each other.

As of June 2020, there have been 11 outbreaks in 2019 and 2020 related to salmonella poisoning from:

  • Backyard poultry
  • Pet turtles
  • Cut fruit
  • Ground beef
  • Pig-ear dog treats
  • Papayas
  • Tahini (Karawan brand)
  • Frozen raw tuna
  • Pre-cut melon
  • Ground turkey (Butterball brand)
  • Pet hedgehogs

Of these outbreaks, only the backyard poultry outbreak is still under investigation by the CDC as of June 2020. The others have been closed and any necessary products recalled.

Prior to that, as of 2018, there had been 12 outbreaks due to:

  • Eggs – two events
  • Chicken
  • Raw Turkey
  • Pasta Salad
  • Pre-cut melon
  • Dried coconut
  • Frozen coconut
  • Chicken salad
  • Raw sprouts
  • Honey Smacks cereal

And since 2006, several notable outbreaks of salmonella, including:

  • Peanut butter – 3 events involving thousands of patients and at least 9 deaths
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 7 events
  • Ground meats (chicken, turkey, beef) – 10 events
  • Prepared entrée products – 7 events
  • Nut butter (not peanut butter) – 3 events
  • Nuts – 3 events
  • Cantaloupe – 2 events
  • Dry snacks or cereal – 3 events
  • Eggs – 2 events
  • Seafood – 2 events
  • Papayas – 2 events
  • Tomatoes
  • Mango

There could be many more infections than are reported. Many people may be infected at home and experience only mild symptoms that they don’t report or don’t even realize is salmonellosis.

Botulism

Botulism is a toxin-caused illness that attacks the body’s nervous system. Because of this, it can cause paralysis of the muscles, trouble breathing, and even possibly death. The bacteria are present in many locations and are typically not a danger, even when eaten. However, the bacteria become a risk in an environment with:

  • Low to no oxygen
  • Low sugar, salt, or acid
  • Certain temperatures
  • Certain amounts of water

In those specific conditions, the bacteria can grow spores that generate the toxin that causes botulism.

What Are the Sources of Botulism?

This toxin most commonly occurs when foods are canned, preserved, or fermented at home and the process isn’t done correctly. It most commonly occurs in:

  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

However, the toxin can occur, although less commonly, in store-bought or other foods. Some of these have included:

  • Spicy peppers (including chilis)
  • Garlic-infused oil
  • Foil-wrapped baked potatoes

What Botulism Outbreaks Have Occurred?

About half of the botulism outbreaks in the US are in Alaska, due to the prevalence of home brewing and seafood canning. Some notable outbreaks are:

  • 1971 – a New York man died from canned soup
  • 1977 – 59 individuals became sickened after consuming improperly canned peppers and hot sauce at a Mexican restaurant
  • 1978 – 34 people were sickened, and two people died after eating potato salad or 2-bean salad at a restaurant in New Mexico
  • 1983 – 28 people were sickened and 1 died after consuming sautéed onions at a restaurant in Illinois
  • 1994 –30 people were sickened after consuming vegetable dips made from baked potatoes at a Greek restaurant
  • 2002 – 8 Alaskans who ate “muktuk” or whale blubber from a beached whale were sickened
  • 2007 – 8 people who consumed canned foods from Castleberry’s Food Company in Georgia were poisoned
  • 2015 – Between 21 and 31 people were sickened after consuming potato salad made from canned potatoes from a church potluck
  • 2017 – 10 people were sickened and 1 person died from nacho cheese sauce consumption at a gas station in California

E.Coli

E.coli are bacteria that live in the intestines of both animals and people. Normally, they’re harmless and actually play an important role in the human digestive system. However, some E.coli bacteria can be pathogenic and can cause illness when ingested, typically diarrhea. These pathogenic E.coli bacteria are commonly transmitted to humans through contaminated food and drink, but can also be transmitted through contact with infected animals or even other people.

What Are the Sources of E.Coli?

E.coli can exist in beef, milk, or vegetables that were contaminated with feces. Undercooked beef, unpasteurized milk, alfalfa sprouts, apple cider, and water are other potential sources of E.coli.

E.coli contamination is most commonly found in:

  • Ground beef
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Fresh produce
    • Spinach
    • Lettuce

E.coli can contaminate ground beef when the cattle are slaughtered and processed if the animals themselves had E.coli in their intestines. There’s a higher risk of infection from ground beef because the meat from many different animals is combined to produce it. Cows infected with E.coli can also contaminate raw milk if the bacteria got onto the cow’s udder and from there into the milk. Fresh produce in turn can be contaminated by runoff from cattle farms. While all vegetables can be contaminated, lettuce and spinach are the most at risk.

Water can also be contaminated from both human and animal feces. Municipal water supplies do take steps to kill E.coli with chlorine, ozone, or ultraviolet light, some outbreaks have still occurred from them. Private wells, however, are more at risk. They typically don’t have any method of disinfecting the water.

What E.Coli Outbreaks Have Occurred?

In 2020, there was an E.coli outbreak linked to red clover sprouts. 51 people were infected in 10 different states. Although 3 people were ill enough to require hospitalization, fortunately no one died as a result of that outbreak. Jimmy John’s stopped serving all products that included red clover sprouts and Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all of its products that contained red clover sprouts in response to the outbreak. As of April 2020, the CDC considered the outbreak over.

Previous outbreaks have included:

  • 2017
    • SoyNut Butter
  • 2016
    • Beef products
    • Flour
    • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • 2015
    • Rotisserie Chicken Salad
    • Chipotle Mexican Restaurant
  • 2014
    • Raw Clover Sprouts
    • Ground Beef
  • 2013
    • Ready-to-Eat Salads
    • Frozen Food Products
  • 2012
    • Organic Salad Mix
    • Raw Clover Sprouts
  • 2011
    • Romaine Lettuce
    • Bologna
    • Unshelled Hazelnuts
  • 2010
    • Cheese
    • Shredded Romaine Lettuce
    • Beef
  • 2009
    • Beef
    • Prepackaged Cookie Dough

Listeria

Listeria monocytogenes is a germ that causes the infection listeriosis. Listeriosis is caused by eating contaminated food, but typically only affects older adults, newborns, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Anyone outside of those categories generally isn’t at risk of getting sick from the germ.

Of those who do typically get sick from Listeria, the illness is mild in pregnant women but can be severe for the fetus. It can also be more severe in newborns, older adults, and anyone with a compromised immune system. Severe illness from Listeria can involve an infection of the bloodstream, which can cause sepsis, and of the brain, which can cause encephalitis or meningitis. Listeriosis can also infect the chest, abdomen, bones, and joints, but these locations are less common.

What Are the Sources of Listeria?

Listeria can be found in unpasteurized milk and cheese, hot dogs, lunch meats, and unwashed produce. It can also be spread via water and soil that has been contaminated.

What Listeria Outbreaks Have Occurred?

In 2020, there was a Listeria outbreak from enoki mushrooms. The affected mushrooms have now been recalled and the CDC considers the outbreak over.

As of 2018, there had been a number of outbreaks from different sources:

  • Turkey and cheese sandwiches
  • Packaged, raw broccoli
  • Nut and dried fruit mix
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Packaged salad greens
  • Smoked salmon spreads
  • Packaged mini eclairs
  • Yeast
  • Biscuits
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Popsicles
  • Frozen fruit bars
  • Cream cheese
  • Two separate outbreaks involving ice cream bars
  • Three separate outbreaks involving cheese

Earlier notable outbreaks included:

  • 2017
    • Soft Raw Milk Cheese
  • 2016
    • Frozen Vegetables
    • Raw Milk
    • Packaged Salads
  • 2015
    • Soft Cheeses
    • Ice Cream
  • 2014
    • Prepackaged Caramel Apples
    • Bean Sprouts
    • Cheese
    • Dairy Products
  • 2013
    • Cheese
  • 2012
    • Ricotta Salata Cheese

Other Bacteria

Other bacteria that can cause food poisoning include:

  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Shigella
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Vibrio vulnificus

Viruses

Food poisoning can also commonly be caused by viruses. Noroviruses alone caused up to 19 million cases of food poisoning annually. They also cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and although fatalities are rarer, about 900 people die every year from noroviruses.

Other viruses that can be transmitted through food include:

  • Rotavirus
  • Astrovirus
  • Sapovirus
  • Hepatitis A

Parasites

Food poisoning caused by parasites isn’t as common as that caused by bacteria or viruses, but it’s still dangerous. The most common parasite that causes food poisoning is toxoplasmosis, which is most often found in the litter boxes of cats. Another parasite, giardia lamblia causes about 20,000 food poisoning cases annually and is ingested through contaminated food or water. It’s also called beaver fever.

Parasites of any kind can live in the human digestive tract for years without being detected. The people most at risk for illness from an intestinal parasite are pregnant women and anyone who has a compromised or weakened immune system.

What Are Symptoms of Food Poisoning?

While the causes of food poisoning may differ on a case-by-case basis, the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress have similarities across all types of food poisoning. The severity of the symptoms may differ, however, ranging from mild to severe.

The most common symptoms of food poisoning are:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive or painful gas/flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Weakness
  • Headache

Signs and symptoms may start within a few hours after eating contaminated food but may begin days or even weeks later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from a few hours to several days. If food poisoning is suspected, antidiarrheal medication should not be used except under the supervision of a doctor.

Some food poisoning cases can be life-threatening and will require medical attention. Symptoms of more severe food poisoning can include:

  • Diarrhea which persists for more than 3 days
  • Fever higher than 100.4
  • Difficulty with sight or speech
  • Bloody urine or feces
  • Symptoms of dehydration

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Are Symptoms of Salmonellosis?

Symptoms of salmonellosis are similar to those of other types of food poisoning. It may not be immediately apparent to those suffering from a salmonella infection that it was caused by salmonella.

Symptoms to look for include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever, cold, chills
  • A headache
  • Bloody stools

Most people will recover on their own from salmonella poisoning. The symptoms typically appear between six hours and six days after contact with the bacteria and usually last between four and seven days. However, it can take up to several months for the digestive tract to fully recover from the experience.

What Are Symptoms of Dehydration?

If a patient suffering from salmonellosis has had severe diarrhea, they can become dehydrated. Combined with more severe symptoms of salmonellosis, dehydration can cause health complications and may result in a patient having to be hospitalized.

The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Little to no urine production
  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • Sunken or dry eyes
  • Extreme thirst
  • A headache
  • Dizziness

If you’re experiencing symptoms of dehydration, talk to your doctor immediately.

What Complications Can Occur from Salmonella?

It’s rare for salmonella to spread beyond the digestive tract, but when it does, it can cause serious health problems even into the long-term. Salmonella can affect the brain, bones, heart, and blood vessels. If a patient with salmonellosis experiences a fever of more than 101.5 degrees, any changes in consciousness or disturbances to the heart’s rhythm are symptoms of serious complications and medical attention should be sought immediately.

What Are the Risk Factors for Salmonellosis?

There are some factors that can increase the risk of getting sick from salmonella poisoning. These risk factors include:

  • Age
    • Children under 5
    • Older adults
  • Weakened immune system
  • International travel
  • Taking certain medications:
    • Antibiotics
    • Antacids
    • Cancer drugs
    • Steroids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

What Are the Symptoms of Botulism?

No matter the source of the botulism infection, the symptoms will be similar. Although it’s still food poisoning, botulism infections are different from other types of food poisoning because of how the botulism bacteria can affect the nervous system.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Also unlike other forms of food poisoning, botulism may require medical treatment to cure. If left untreated, it can cause paralysis in the arms and legs or even in the diaphragm, which is necessary for breathing.

In infants, botulism can be less obvious. The most common symptoms of infant botulism are:

  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness in head and neck, moving downward
  • Poor feeding
  • Weak cry
  • Drooling
  • Eye drooping

What Complications Can Occur from Botulism?

Botulism is a toxin that can affect the nervous system in the body. Because of this, some serious complications can occur. The most common cause of death from botulism occurs when the ability to breathe is affected.

Other complications, which can require rehabilitation, include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness (long-lasting)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble speaking

What Are the Symptoms of E.Coli?

Symptoms of exposure to E.coli can vary in severity depending on the person, ranging from mild to very severe. E.coli infections generally involve vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and stomach cramps. Symptoms typically start a few days after exposure to the bacteria but can appear as early as the very next day or as late as ten days afterward.

The most common symptoms of an E.coli infection are:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

What Complications Can Occur from E.Coli?

Most people who are infected with E.coli recover quickly, typically within a week. However, those who are more at risk, such as young children, older adults, or those with compromised immune systems, could potentially develop a more threatening health complication. E.coli infections can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a life-threatening type of kidney failure.

What Are the Risk Factors for E.Coli?

Anyone who is exposed to the E.coli bacteria can become infected. However, there are certain factors that make some people more at risk than others for getting sick from it.

  • Age
    • Young children
    • Older adults
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Time of year
    • June through September
  • Eating certain foods
    • Undercooked beef
    • Unpasteurized milk
    • Apple cider or juice
    • Soft cheeses that are made from raw milk
  • Lower levels of stomach acid

What Are the Symptoms of Listeria?

Listeria is often mistaken for another illness because the symptoms can take so long to appear. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and less frequently, diarrhea

Certain symptoms can be a sign that the infection has spread or has affected the nervous system:

  • A headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek medical attention.

What Complications Can Occur from Listeria?

Most cases of Listeria are mild. Many may even go completely unnoticed by those suffering from the infection. However, some cases can become very serious and cause health complications. These complications, which include blood infection and meningitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid and membranes around the brain, can be life-threatening.

What Are the Risk Factors for Listeria?

Those who have weakened immune systems are most at risk for getting ill from a Listeria infection. Pregnant women are at a higher risk and although they themselves may experience only mild symptoms of the infection, there is a danger to the fetus, including:

  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • Fatal postpartum infection

What Is the Treatment for Food Poisoning?

Most cases of food poisoning are mild and will go away with time. Other cases may be much more serious or even life-threatening. Certain groups are more vulnerable including children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Women who are pregnant who believe they have a case of food poisoning should seek medical attention as some foodborne illnesses may be harmful to the developing fetus.

For mild to moderate symptoms, ensuring that the victim remains hydrated is the most important factor. This may occur through beverages or clear soups as the patient can tolerate. In some cases, oral rehydration solutions similar to “Pedialyte” may be recommended. Food can be introduced as the patient can tolerate. Antidiarrheal medication should not be given unless advised by a doctor.

What Is the Treatment for Salmonellosis?

Usually, there is no treatment required for salmonella poisoning. The vast majority of cases are mild enough that patients recover on their own. Those who have salmonellosis can typically stay home and recover there with no medical treatment. It’s important to drink a lot of water in order to stay hydrated, as diarrhea can cause dehydration.

With more severe cases, hospitalization may be required to combat the effects of dehydration. In some cases, the infection is bad enough that antibiotics are required. If a patient has a fever, a doctor may recommend acetaminophen to help bring the fever down.

What Is the Treatment for Botulism?

To treat botulism, doctors can try to clear out the digestive tract, either by inducing vomiting or by providing medication to induce bowel movements. Doctors can also provide an antitoxin that can prevent the botulism toxin from causing damage to the nervous system. However, this antitoxin cannot reverse any damage that has already occurred. Nerves can regenerate, however, but it can take many months of rehabilitation for botulism sufferers to fully recover from the infection.

For those whose breathing is affected by the infection, breathing assistance from a mechanical ventilator may be needed.

What Is the Treatment for E.Coli?

Most people have only mild symptoms of E.coli infection and can recover safely at home. These people would need only to make sure they rest and drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Begin by drinking clear liquids, but avoid caffeine, alcohol, and apple or pear juice. Solid foods should be reintroduced gradually. Stick to low-fiber foods and avoid dairy products, fatty foods, anything with high-fiber, and anything with a lot of seasoning, as these foods can worsen symptoms.

Antibiotics are typically not recommended because there’s a risk of serious complications if they’re taken. It’s also recommended to not take an anti-diarrheal medication because that type of medication can slow down the digestive system, making it take even longer to purge your body of the toxin.

For those who have serious symptoms and develop kidney failure, hospitalization is required. Treatment will include IV fluids, kidney dialysis, and blood transfusions.

What Is the Treatment for Listeria?

Most people who contract Listeria infections require no treatment at all. For those with more serious symptoms, antibiotics may be prescribed. For pregnant women, prompt treatment with antibiotics can help to prevent the bacteria from having an effect on the fetus.

How Can Food Poisoning Be Prevented at Home?

While some foodborne illnesses cannot be detected at home, there are some safety precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of illness. Tips include:

  • Always wash hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables before using them. Even foods with rind or peel and foods that are “pre-washed” should be rinsed at home.
  • Wash the tops of canned goods before opening.
  • Avoid touching your face, sneezing, or coughing while preparing food.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by cutting vegetables separately from meat products. Cut vegetables first when possible.
  • Wash cutting boards, knives, and other utensils immediately.
    • Cook meat and egg products thoroughly before serving. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the meats are safe.
    • Cook beef, pork, lamb and fish to 145 F
    • Cook ground beef, pork or lamb to 160 F
    • Cook poultry (chicken, duck, turkey) to 165 F
    • Cook eggs until no visible liquid remains
  • Keep food at the appropriate temperature (hot foods hot and cold foods cold). Put the food to be saved in the refrigerator within 2 hours after cooking, sooner if it is hot outside.
  • Foods should be marinated or thawed in the refrigerator.
  • A marinade should not be reused unless cooked.
  • Do not use sponges for repeated counter wiping or washing unless sterilized between uses.

Proper food safety practices can reduce the chance of a contamination event occurring in the home.

How Can Salmonella Poisoning Be Prevented?

Salmonella isn’t visible and it doesn’t smell or taste bad. It can, therefore, be difficult to detect in food and drinks. There are, however, some steps that can be taken to prevent infection from salmonella.

  • Wash raw produce before eating, even if purchased as “prewashed”
  • Wash fruits before eating them, include fruits with an inedible rind or peel like cantaloupe
  • Do not eat raw or runny eggs
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked beef, poultry, pork, or seafood. Cook meats to the correct temperature:
    • Beef, pork, lamb, and fish – 145 F
    • Ground beef, pork or lamb – 160 F
    • Poultry (chicken, duck, turkey) – 165 F
    • Eggs – no visible liquid remains
  • Refrigerate food properly, before and after cooking it
  • Do not allow food to sit at room temperature. Serve hot food hot and cold food cold
  • Do not mix raw and cooked foods
  • Do not prepare raw vegetables with the same utensils used to prepare raw meats
  • Keep food preparation surfaces clean
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, touching animals, or after preparing food

How Can Botulism Poisoning Be Prevented?

To prevent botulism poisoning, it’s important to observe safe practices when preparing food at home. People who are canning their own food should be sure to use the proper techniques so that any botulism bacteria are destroyed. Care should also be taken to use proper techniques for storing and preserving food. The proper methods will differ for different types of food.

To prevent botulism in infants, avoid giving any child under the age of 1 honey.

How Can E.Coli Poisoning Be Prevented?

There currently is no medication or vaccine that can protect people from an E.coli infection. However, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent infection:

  • Wash raw vegetables before eating, even when purchased as “prewashed”
  • Wash fruits before eating them, include fruits with an inedible rind or peel like cantaloupe
  • Keep uncooked foods separate from ready-to-eat and cooked foods
  • Defrost meats in microwave or refrigerator
  • Store raw meats below produce a level in the refrigerator so that juices do not drip onto produce
  • Thoroughly cook a hamburger or other ground meats to a minimum 160 F
  • Avoid products made with unpasteurized milk
  • Avoid unpasteurized juices
  • Avoid swimming in unclean areas. Do not swim if you have diarrhea, exit the water if you see that someone has defecated in the water.
  • Wash hands and utensils for at least 20 seconds in warm soapy water after handling foods or after using the restroom

How Can Listeria Poisoning Be Prevented?

Simple food safety guidelines can help prevent an infection from Listeria bacteria. These include:

  • Keeping dishes and utensils clean
  • Washing hands
  • Thoroughly cooking food
  • Washing raw vegetables
  • Avoid eating the following without extra precautions:
    • Unpasteurized soft or Mexican-style cheese
    • Hot dogs
    • Deli meats
    • Meat spreads
    • Smoked seafood
    • Raw or undercooked sprouts

Pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system should avoid eating the above foods altogether.

What Are the Commercial Responsibilities of Businesses to Prevent Food Poisoning?

Whenever people go out to restaurants, they’re placing their trust in the people who prepare and serve the food to have safe cleanliness practices. Similarly, people place that same trust in those who grow the food, ship it, and store it, whether it’s purchased at a restaurant or at a grocery store. The public relies on commercial food processors and producers to maintain food safety practices at all times in order to prevent food poisoning.

State and federal health and safety authorities have regulations regarding safe food handling processes that must be followed. Food growers, processors, packagers, and handlers may be liable for any injuries which occur due to improper practices.

In the event of a contamination occurrence, a recall should be issued for any food product that may be affected and the food handling facility or establishment should be closed to further production until the problem has been identified and eliminated.

Food Poisoning Lawsuits

Foodborne illnesses that are caused by commercial food production facilities or restaurants can affect a large number of unsuspecting victims. In some cases, an illness may occur suddenly, but other cases may not develop for days, weeks, or even months. Food poisoning can be life-threatening or require costly medical treatments.

When it appears that a food manufacturer has failed to ensure safe food production or has failed to adequately respond to a contamination event, many more people may be harmed. Victims of commercial-based food poisoning may be eligible for compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering and should seek legal advice. Learn more about food poisoning lawsuits here.

Food Poisoning Settlements

Food poisoning is a common occurrence, but most cases occur at home or are mild and do not require medical treatment. When food poisoning is severe and is caused by a commercial or industrial facility, events may be publicized, and depending on the type of food product or facility, it may result in a food recall and national publicity.

Notable food poisoning events have included:

  • Maple Leaf Listeria – contaminated lunch meat killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more, Maple Leaf foods paid $27 million to settle claims
  • ConAgra Peanut Butter Salmonella – am $11.2 million settlement was reached after tainted peanut butter affected over 750 people
  • Jack in the Box E. coli – a $15.6 million settlement was reached with the family of a girl who died after eating contaminated, improperly cooked hamburger meat at a restaurant
  • Odwalla E. coli – contaminated, unpasteurized fruit juice injured multiple people and caused deaths of multiple children, resulting in an estimated settlement of $15 million

In many of these cases, food poisoning settlements have been offered but most involve non-disclosure agreements with undisclosed settlement terms and amounts.

Salmonella Lawsuits

Most salmonella cases are mild and are treatable at home. However, some cases are more severe and require hospitalization and can even cause death. Salmonella cases caused by contamination at commercial facilities can affect hundreds or even thousands of people. If people are harmed by unsafe or unsanitary practices, these businesses must be held liable.

Anyone who has been exposed to salmonella from a commercial location may be eligible for compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If the victim was a loved one who died of salmonella poisoning, you may have a wrongful death case.

Botulism Lawsuits

Though botulism infections aren’t as common as other forms of food poisoning and are often caused by improper food canning and preservation practices at home, outbreaks can and do result in commercial establishments. Botulism can affect the nervous system, requiring months of rehabilitation to fully recover. Some people have died after botulism affected their ability to breathe.

If the infection was a result of improper safety and cleanliness practices at a commercial establishment, either a restaurant or other food processing facility, victims may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, or the wrongful death of a loved one.

E.Coli Lawsuits

Most E.coli outbreaks originate in commercial facilities or in a restaurant. While some people may have only mild symptoms, E.coli poisoning can be life-threatening and the treatment costly. Any business that was responsible for an E.coli outbreak due to a failure to maintain proper procedures to prevent contamination may be liable.

Anyone who has suffered complications from an E.coli outbreak may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, or other damages. You may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation if a loved one died as a result of an E.coli infection.

Listeria Lawsuits

Listeria poisoning, or Listeriosis, can result from contamination in restaurants or in manufacturing or food processing facilities. Contamination in a commercial establishment can cause a widespread outbreak that affects thousands of people. Even though most cases are mild, some people can experience more severe symptoms that require costly treatment. Victims may receive compensation from those responsible for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other damages.

Some notable cases that have been settled include:

  • 1 Blue ice cream contamination settled in Texas
  • 2 cases of Dole salad contamination settled
  • 23 lawsuits settled by Walmart for cantaloupe contamination
  • 24 wrongful death cases settled for cantaloupe contamination
  • 20 additional cantaloupe medical injury cases against grower, distributors, and restaurants settled in Colorado

Food Poisoning Lawyers

According to the CDC, food poisoning affects over 48 million people each year in the U.S. Up to 128,000 of these people may end up in the hospital and hundreds may die. Most of these cases are due to food poisoning which may occur at home but in cases where food poisoning is the responsibility of a commercial agency or industrial facility, the company is liable for damages and injury. Seeking assistance through a food poisoning lawsuit may be the only answer.

Whether the food poisoning event was caused by a restaurant, a food packaging company, or other commercial facilities, finding the right attorney to handle a food poisoning lawsuit is critical. If a child is injured, death occurs, or severe, permanent injury is caused by the foodborne illness, obtaining experienced legal advice may become even more critical.

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