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Food Poisoning Claims

The Michigan food poisoning lawyers at our firm are frequently contacted by clients regarding food poisoning lawsuits.  These claims arise when people become ill from food purchased at retail stores, like meats and dairy products, and from food purchased at restaurants.  People with serious food poisoning injuries do have legal rights. 

Unfortunately, food poisoning a/k/a food borne illnesses are common in Untied States and can often result in very serious injuries.  Food poisoning is  especially dangerous in cases involving children, the elderly, and those who have compromised immune systems.  In the United States there are an estimated 76 million cases of food poisoning or food borne illnesses each year, resulting in approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.

Major pathogens from food poisoning in the United States cost upwards of US $35 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity (1997).Under Michigan law, individuals who have been injured as a result of food poisoning may have a claim against the store, producer, and/or restaurant where the food was purchased and prepared.  It is important to have a lawyer who is experienced in handling food poisoning claims and lawsuits.

The most commonly recognized food poisoning cases are those caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli, Botulism, and by a group of viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses.

Campylobacter is a bacterial pathogen that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.  It is the most commonly identified bacterial cause of diarrhea illness in the world.  These bacteria live in the intestines of healthy birds, and most raw poultry meat has Campylobacter on it.  Eating undercooked chicken, or other food that has been contaminated with juices dripping from raw chicken is the most frequent source of this  infection. 

Salmonella is also a bacterium that is widespread in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals.  It can spread to humans via a variety of different foods of animal origin.  The illness it causes, salmonellosis, typically includes fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.  In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems, it can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections. 

E. coli [O157:H7 ] is a bacterial pathogen that has a reservoir in cattle and other similar animals.  Human illness typically follows consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with microscopic amounts of cow feces.  The illness it causes is often a severe and bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps, without much fever.   In 3% to 5% of cases, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur several weeks after the initial symptoms.  This severe complication includes temporary anemia, profuse bleeding, and kidney failure. 

Calicivirus, or Norwalk-like virus is an extremely common cause of food borne illness, though it is rarely diagnosed, because the laboratory test is not widely available.  It causes an acute gastrointestinal illness, usually with more vomiting than diarrhea, that resolves within two days.  Unlike many food borne pathogens that have animal reservoirs, it is believed that Norwalk-like viruses spread primarily from one infected person to another. In restaurants,  infected kitchen workers can contaminate a salad or sandwich as they prepare it, if they have the virus on their hands.  Infected fishermen have contaminated oysters as they harvested them.

In 2006, a food poisoning outbreak in Lansing, Michigan, was found to have been connected to a local Carrabba's restaurant. Local Health Department officials believed that the illnesses were caused by a Norwalk-like virus (Norovirus).   

Contamination usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage. Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness.  You can protect yourself from food poisoning by choosing which restaurant to patronize.  Restaurants are inspected by the local health department to make sure they are clean and have adequate kitchen facilities. 

Contact your local health department to find out how restaurants did on their most recent inspections, and use that score to help guide your choice.  In many Counties, the latest inspection score is posted in the restaurant. 

You can also protect yourself from food poisoning when ordering specific foods, just as you would at home. When ordering a hamburger, ask for it to be cooked to a temperature of 160° F.  Before you order something that is made with many eggs pooled together, such as scrambled eggs, omelets or French toast, ask the waiter whether it was made with pasteurized eggs, and choose something else if it was not. 

Reporting your illness, either through, or directly to your health department, allows your health department to identify outbreaks and prevent others from becoming sick.  Persons suffering illness from food poisoning can also pursue their legal rights against the restauarant or seller of food.

If you are the victim of food poisoning or contaminated food, you should contact our Michigan food poisoning lawyers immediately.


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We represent Michigan food poisoning injury clients in Detroit, Southfield, Pontiac, Troy, Warren, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Lansing, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills, Rochester, Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Birmingham, Ferndale, Flint, Novi, Pontiac, Troy, Saginaw, Sterling Heights, Waterford, Wayne, Dearborn, Westland, Canton, Monroe, Ann Arbor, Mount Clemens, Livonia, Grayling, Grosse Pointe, St. Clair Shores, Brighton, Adrian, Allen Park, Clinton, Hamtramck, Northville, Garden City,  Southgate, Harrison, Holland, Inkster, Allen Park, Belleville, Jackson, Madison Heights, Mount Pleasant, Oak Park, Okemos, Plymouth, Redford, Roseville, Romulus, Taylor,  Wyandotte, Wyoming, Traverse City, Ypsilanti, Bad Axe,  Northern Michigan, as well as residents of Wayne County, Kent County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County, Huron County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, Ingham County, Saginaw County, Livingston County, Lenawee County and all other Michigan counties.