Food Poisoning Attorneys

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year 48 million people in the United States become ill from “food poisoning.” Food poisoning occurs when a person consumes food or beverages that contain parasites, bacteria, viruses or toxins.

Common Causes of Food Poisoning

Salmonella

People generally contract salmonella by ingesting food or beverages that have been in contact with animal feces or with an infected animal. Around 1.4 million Americans become sick with salmonella every year.

Listeria

Listeria occurs when someone eats food that has been contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria can be found in uncooked meats, vegetables, non-pasteurized milk products, and deli meats.

E. coli

According to the CDC, 73,000 people contract Escherichia coli (E. coli) every year. E. coli can be caused by unsafe food preparation, undercooked meat, drinking raw milk or contaminated water.

Botulism

Botulism is a rare but serious illness that is caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulism. People who contract botulism are at risk for paralysis and death. Foodborne botulism can be caused by home-canned foods such as beets, corn, and asparagus. However, botulism can be contracted from commercially canned food products as well.

Campylobacter

People usually contract Campylobacter from contaminated food or water, raw poultry, fresh produce, and unpasteurized food. One of the most common causes of “traveler’s diarrhea” is the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni.

Giardia

Unlike many other foodborne illnesses, giardia is caused by a parasite. Giardia is generally caused by drinking contaminated water.

Norovirus

Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu, is a very contagious virus that causes 21 million illnesses every year. The virus can be contracted from contact with another infected person, by touching a contaminated surface or eating contaminated foods.


Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning symptoms usually start 2-6 hours after eating contaminated food. That timeframe may increase or decrease though, depending on the type of foodborne illness.

Common symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Though the majority of people recover from food poisoning related sicknesses within a couple of days, unfortunately, serious complications can occur as well. The CDC reports that 128,000 people are hospitalized due to food poisoning injuries every year along with 3,000 deaths.

Individuals should contact their health care provider if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood or pus in the stools
  • A fever above 101°F or a fever above 100.4°F for a child
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Recently traveled to a foreign country and developed diarrhea
  • Diarrhea for more than 5 days
  • Food poisoning from fish, mushrooms or botulism
  • Unable to drink fluids because of nausea and vomiting