Representing Victims of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, is any form of illness caused by consuming contaminated food or beverages. This can not only lead to illness, but to other health issues that require visiting a physician. According to the CDC, around 48 million Americans become ill from consuming contaminated food every year.
Illnesses caused by food poisoning lead to approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Foodborne illnesses are incredibly common, but that does not diminish the fact that the symptoms associated with consuming contaminated food can be painful and, in some cases, fatal. If you suspect that a careless restaurateur was to blame for your bout of food poisoning, the San Jose food poisoning lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde can help you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Primary Causes of Foodborne Illness
Generally speaking, the cause of food poisoning can usually be traced to three major sources:
- Bacteria: The most common culprit of food poisoning is bacteria, particularly e. coli, listeria, and salmonella. Salmonella is the biggest source of food poisoning cases in the country, causing an estimated 1 million cases of food poisoning, 20,000 of which require hospitalization. Campylobacter and c. botulinum are other lesser-known bacteria.
- Parasites: Food poisoning can also be caused by parasites, though it is not nearly as common as bacteria. Toxoplasma is the parasite most frequently seen in this type of poisoning and is typically found in cat litter boxes. Parasites are capable of living in the digestive tract for years.
- Viruses: Lastly, poisoning can be caused by a virus, the most common of which is the norovirus (or the Norwalk virus). In rare cases, this type of poisoning can be fatal. Less common viruses include the sapovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus.
Other types of contamination include natural and artificial toxins. Some plants produce compounds designed to poison animals, which prevent them from being eaten. This means natural toxins can be found in nearly every food group.
If you have food poisoning, it will not go unnoticed, though its symptoms and duration can often vary depending on the source of your illness. It can take anywhere from an hour to 28 days for symptoms to appear.
Food poisoning symptoms often include:
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms of more severe cases can include:
- Diarrhea that persists for more than three days
- Difficulty seeing or speaking
- Severe hydration, which can include dry mouth, passing little to no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down
Food Poisoning FAQ
Take a moment to equip yourself with some critical knowledge to protect not only your rights, but your health as well. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about food poisoning and answers to help provide clarity.
Theoretically, anyone who suffers from an incident of food poisoning can sue those who are responsible for the illness, including the restaurant that served the dish or the food company or store that sold the contaminated products. A personal injury lawsuit or product liability lawsuit may allow you to recover compensation for any medical expenses and/or lost income associated with your foodborne illness.
Food poisoning symptoms do not always arise within 24 hours, so it is entirely possible for your symptoms to be caused by a meal you had a week ago, rather than something more recent. In some cases, symptoms may not appear for weeks.
Restaurants are regularly subject to health and safety inspections in California, which are conducted by environmental health practitioners from local health departments. The results of these routine inspections can be found on your local health department’s website, or by directly contacting the department.
It depends on the type of foodborne illness you have as well as your personal biology. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. If you know what type of pathogen you acquired, you will be able to look up the duration.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP Today
If you or a loved one contracted a foodborne illness caused by workers in the food processing industry or restaurants with unsafe or unsanitary practices, the San Jose food poisoning attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde can examine the details of your case and work toward holding responsible parties accountable for their actions.