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Food Recalls of 2016: Can You Sue for Potentially Lethal Food?

Written by Berkowitz

Dozen EggsIf you have been following the news lately, you may be bombarded with the number of food recalls. In fact, some of the country’s largest food stores – including Costco, Walmart, and Kroger – have been forced to recall thousands of packages of products that are contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria. These recalls mainly have focused on Listeria monocytogenes. The issue originally stemmed from CRF frozen organic and traditional products, as well as SunOpta sunflower kernels. The recalls have been massive in scope and cover products sold in multiple food stores around the country. According to a Food Safety News alert, these products are covering all products manufactured since May of 2014.

Understanding the Food Recall System of the United States

The FDA has several classifications for their food recalls, and they contain three categories:

  1. Category I – This is a dangerous or defective product that could lead to death or serious health problems. This can include food with botulinum toxin or allergens that were not previously labeled.
  2. Category II – This is a product that may cause a temporary health issue, such as stomach upset.
  3. Category III – This product is not a big danger, and is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions, but the product still violates the FDA labeling or manufacturing requirements; therefore, it must be recalled to correct the violation.

Can You Sue for Food Poisoning?

When contaminated food is released to the market, the manufacturer as well as the retailer becomes automatically liable for any illnesses or deaths that result from that tainted food. Whether the food was tainted during production or when it was used at a restaurant, it still becomes a liability issue. Defective food falls under defective products or product liability – and the manufacturer as well as anyone in the distribution chain can be liable under civil law.

You would have to first prove that the manufacturer was responsible for the food contamination. In these cases, where food products are being recalled for Listeria, it is obvious that the manufacturer knew about the contamination. If you became sick from a product that was contaminated and happened on the manufacturer’s end, then you could sue that manufacturer for the illness, pain and suffering, medical costs, and other damages that resulted from that foodborne illness. If a death occurs, the manufacturer would then be responsible for that death as well as the associated damages of that death – such as lost wages, loss of consortium, and more.

Holding Food Manufacturers and Distributors Responsible

If you have become seriously ill or have lost a loved one due to a contaminated food product, you need to contact a product inability attorney right away. While some of these contamination issues become a class action lawsuit, there are other instances where they are not. Also, if you have been injured by any type of defective product (whether it was consumable or not), you still may have a product liability claim against the company that manufactured it or even sold it. To explore your options, contact an attorney in Connecticut right away. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.