An Introduction to Foodborne Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are 48 million foodborne illness cases each year in the United States. Of these cases, 128,000 result in hospitalization and 3,000 result in death.

An estimated two to three percent of foodborne pathogens lead to serious long-term illnesses. For example, long-term kidney failure can be the result of exposure to E.coli from the consumption of undercooked ground beef or contaminated raw vegetables. Young children and elderly individuals aren’t always able to make a quick recovery from E.coli, which may result in a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

Other serious illnesses related to foodborne pathogens include salmonella, which is acquired through contaminated food or water; listeria from such food items as unpasteurized dairy products; and campylobacter from contaminated food. All three conditions can lead to serious illnesses.

Foodborne illnesses present a significant financial challenge for the U.S. government, industry, researchers, and consumers. If you or someone you love becomes ill due to a foodborne pathogen, you are likely to lose time at work, acquire expensive hospital bills, and accrue other costs related to the illness. In some cases, long-term illness results, which can be a tremendous emotional and financial challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t have to shoulder all of these expenses on your own. As a consumer, you have rights and will need to follow an appropriate legal process in order to receive the financial assistance owed you.

Of course, your first step should be to receive immediate medical attention. In addition to getting the medical help that you need, you will also then have an official hospital record.

It is also important to notify your local health department. The health department keeps records of foodborne illnesses and what products caused the illness. This helps them to determine any foodborne pathogen outbreaks. In addition, they will have a record of your report on file which will help with your case.

Document anything related to your illness. For example, if you write the supermarket, manufacturer or restaurant that sold you the contaminated food product, keep a copy of the letter. If you send an email, print a copy of the email and save the email in your outbox.

All of these steps will help your attorney to make a solid case for you. The more information that you keep on hand, the greater your chances for receiving the compensation that you deserve.


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