Have you consumed Salmonella?
If you or a loved one suffered a Salmonella infection after consuming contaminated food or water, you may have a Salmonella lawsuit against the manufacturer. Contact the Minnesota Salmonella Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw for a free Salmonella lawsuit consultation.
Do I Have a Salmonella Lawsuit?
Salmonella lawsuits are complicated, and it can be difficult to determine if you have a potential Salmonella lawsuit on your own. That’s why you need the Minnesota Salmonella Lawyers at GoldenbergLaw to help you look at the details.
The first step to determining whether someone has a viable Salmonella lawsuit is to tie the Salmonella infection back to a specific food product the infected person consumed. We need to know where the food came from in order to determine who might be liable. Once we determine the source of the Salmonella infection, we then need to investigate whether the manufacturer or processor of the food failed to ensure their products were safe and free of infection. If there was a Salmonella-related recall announced on the food product responsible for causing the Salmonella infection, then we simply need to confirm that the recalled product was purchased and consumed by the infected individual.
When you think about Salmonella, you may not think about Salmonella infections caused by manufacturing processes that put people’s safety at risk. You likely think about Salmonella infections that occur through cross-contamination such as if you use a knife you used to cut raw chicken to cut tomatoes for a salad without washing it first. Maybe you think about a summer barbeque where food is left out for too long without being refrigerated.
But Salmonella infection liability lies with companies that fail in their duty to ensure that their products are safe. Salmonella bacteria can easily be introduced into and spread through food production facilities through contaminated raw ingredients, dirty packaging, equipment, and workers’ hands and clothing. If the bacteria enters the food production environment, Salmonella thrives in moist, warm areas such as drains, floors, and processing equipment which can further the spread. Associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, Benjamin Chapman, explained that Salmonella bacteria is very resilient and can even spread to processed foods because dry heat “actually makes Salmonella more persistent in a food or ingredient.”
If you or loved one has been sickened with Salmonella after consuming a contaminated food product, you may have a Salmonella lawsuit against the manufacturer. Contact the Minneapolis Salmonella Lawyers at GoldenbergLaw today to start your free consultation.
FDA Guidelines on Salmonella Prevention
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service have repeatedly issued guidance and requirements to try and prevent Salmonella bacteria from infecting foods. In 1996, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued the “Pathogen Reduction: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) System, Final Rule” which set performance standards for establishments slaughtering selected classes of animals or those producing selected classes of raw ground products. These performance standards sought to verify that the industry systems are effective in controlling the contamination of raw meat and poultry products with disease-causing bacteria and the required PR/HACCP system. FSIS inspectors would randomly collect and test samples to determine if they were infected with Salmonella. In 2009, the FDA issued guidance to egg producers and required them to implement measures to prevent Salmonella from contaminating the eggs on their farms and grow further during storage and transportation. In March 2022, the FDA published guidance on industry testing for Salmonella in food products. The FDA recommended food manufacturers use the cultural method in the FDA’s Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) Ref. 7 or Ref. 9 non-BAM method to conduct more accurate Salmonella testing.
However, despite these measures, Salmonella bacteria can still contaminate food production which can lead to outbreaks. If the bacteria enters the production process through raw ingredients, dirty packaging or equipment, or workers’ hands or clothing, it can rapidly spread throughout the manufacturing area. If companies do not use effective cleaning materials or methods or introduce cleaning materials that were exposed to bacteria in other areas of the facility, the bacteria can spread into the product. If products are not regularly tested for Salmonella contamination, an outbreak can be caused. All of these deficiencies and many more can result in a devastating Salmonella outbreak that can harm you and your loved ones.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella bacteria cluster in rod-shaped groups and grow in animals’ and humans’ intestines. Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. It was first discovered by the American scientist Dr. Daniel E. Salmon in 1885. The bacteria can spread from animals to people and between people. The most common season for Salmonella infections is summer due to the warmer temperatures and the increased likelihood that food will be unrefrigerated– such as at outdoor gatherings. These circumstances create ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow before settling in animals’ and humans’ intestines. Warmer temperatures can lead to higher concentration of Salmonella because warmer temperatures speed up the multiplication of the bacteria. Normally, the human body removes the bacteria through diarrhea; however, the longer the bacteria live in the human body, the more potential it has to seep into the bloodstream and cause more serious complications.
Why is Salmonella Dangerous?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 1.35 million Salmonella infections in the United States each year. These infections lead to approximately 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths every year.
Salmonella infections are known as salmonellosis. Salmonella bacteria can live and grow in humans’ and animals’ intestines and cause harm. Salmonella infections in humans are most commonly caused by contaminated water or food such as raw meat, poultry, seafood, raw or undercooked eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, or fruits and vegetables. For instance, animal feces infected with Salmonella bacteria can get into raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. Seafood may become contaminated if it’s harvested from contaminated water. Chickens that are infected with Salmonella can produce infected eggs. Unpasteurized milk and milk products can also become infected with Salmonella because the pasteurization process is vital to killing off harmful bacteria. Some fresh produce, especially those that are imported, may be irrigated in a field or washed with water that is contaminated with Salmonella.
However, there are many other ways to become infected by Salmonella bacteria, including coming into contact with infected surfaces, pets and other animals, or improperly handled food such as if the cook did not wash their hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or handling contaminated food.
Additionally, Salmonella infections can occur if consumers eat products that were infected with Salmonella due to the food manufacturer’s failure to protect against and test for contamination. For instance, just because a food is processed or boxed for a long shelf life does not mean that it’s free from Salmonella bacteria. Infectious disease physician Dr. Alan Taege explained: “The safety of this food depends on the processing employed, the bacteria involved and the quality control at the plant. Little is known thus far about how, or even if, Salmonella has tainted some packaged foods. It may have occurred after processing or during packaging.”Symptoms usually emerge 6 hours to 6 days after the contamination and normally last 4 to 7 days. However, some Salmonella infections are much more serious. Symptoms of Salmonella infections include:
Blood in stool
Although most people who suffer from Salmonella infections recover within a few days, it can sometimes take several months for bowel functions to return to normal.
For infants, children under 5 years old, older adults, transplant recipients, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, a Salmonella infection can be more dangerous.
Serious complications from Salmonella infections include dehydration, bacteremia, reactive arthritis, and death.
Urinating less or having dark-colored urine
Dry mouth and tongue
No tears when crying
Irritability and confusion
Urinary tract infection
Meningitis (the infection spreads to the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
Endocarditis (the lining of the heart or the heart valves become infected)
Osteomyelitis (the infection enters the bones or bone marrow)
Septic arthritis (the infection enters a joint)
Reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter’s syndrome, is severe joint pain that can develop after a Salmonella infection. In addition to joint pain, reactive arthritis often causes eye irritation and pain while urinating. Reactive arthritis can last for months or years and is difficult to treat.
If the Salmonella infection spreads outside of the intestine and gets into the bloodstream it can travel to the organs and potentially cause septic shock. When this occurs, a person must be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. If treatment is not started soon enough, the infection can cause death.
If you or a loved one suffered a Salmonella infection, contact the Minnesota Salmonella Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw today to learn how our team can help you.
How Does Salmonella Attack Your Body?
Once a person or animal is infected with the rod-shaped Salmonella bacteria, the bacteria lives and grows in the intestines. The body usually fights the bacteria by flushing it out with diarrhea. However, sometimes the bacteria persist and escape from the intestines. If the bacteria escape the intestines and enter the bloodstream, they can spread throughout the body and cause more serious complications.
Salmonella infections can wreak havoc on the body. If you or a loved one was hospitalized by a Salmonella infection, contact the Minnesota Salmonella Law Firm, GoldenbergLaw today.
I Think I Have Salmonella Poisoning! What Should I Do?
If you suspect that you have Salmonella poisoning, you need to seek medical help and ask for a Salmonella test. The Salmonella test allows you to know which Salmonella pathogen is causing your illness. Unfortunately, some medical professionals just diagnose gastroenteritis and prescribe antibiotics without obtaining a stool culture which is essential to confirming the pathogen that caused the symptoms.
If you receive a positive Salmonella test, your state or local health department will be notified and can help determine if you are part of an outbreak and investigate what food made you sick. If you tested positive for Salmonella and the health department linked your illness to an outbreak or identified the source of your infection, contact the Minnesota Salmonella Lawyers at GoldenbergLaw as soon as possible.
Recent Salmonella Recalls
With millions of Salmonella infections harming Americans each year and most being caused by contaminated food and water, there are Salmonella-related food recalls every year. The CDC records the outbreak statistics here.
The most recent Salmonella outbreak began in May 2022 after J.M. Smuckers’ Jif peanut butter was contaminated with Salmonella. The company voluntarily recalled the product to try and contain the spread; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) soon discovered the contamination went far beyond jars of Jif peanut butter. Since the May 2022 initial recall, the threat of Jif peanut butter contamination has spread to snacks, ice cream, candies, and bakery items that contain Jif peanut butter and led to multiple other recalls.
People are wondering how Salmonella bacteria entered peanut butter because most people think about Salmonella with raw meat or dairy products. However, manufacturing issues may have led to the contamination. Making peanut butter begins with raw, shelled peanuts that are roasted, cooled, ground up, and then heated again. The heating process is essential to keeping the peanut butter safe from contamination, according to Darin Dewtiler, LPD, who is a professor of food policy and corporate social responsibility at Northeastern University. Professor Detwiler explained: “Peanut butter is made from shelled and ground peanuts that are typically left sitting in unprotected piles until they are ready for the next stage of food manufacturing or for delivery to another company. Most cases of Salmonella in peanuts are caused by the presence of rain water bringing feces into the product, or animals—birds, or more likely rodents– coming directly into contact with the product. Roasted peanut butter can become contaminated in the processing plant if proper sanitation protocols are not followed.” If Salmonella bacteria gets into processed products such as peanut butter, it can live there for many months. Assistant professor food sciences at Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Abby Snyder, PhD explained: “Peanut butter is a low-moisture food, meaning there is not enough available water to support the growth of microbial pathogens like Salmonella. However, while Salmonella can’t grow, it can survive for extended periods of time in low-moisture foods like peanut butter.” The high fat content in peanut butter can even act as an added protection for the bacteria. Additionally, since peanut butter is a ready-to-eat food, there is no additional cooking process involved to remove the bacteria such as with raw meat or eggs.
Another infamous Salmonella outbreak occurred in 2021 that was connected to backyard poultry. 1135 people were infected across 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Two people died from their Salmonella infection.
How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You
If you or a loved one suffered a Salmonella infection after consuming contaminated food or water, contact the Twin Cities Salmonella Lawyers at GoldenbergLaw. Our firm has more than 35 years of experience providing the Gold Standard of advocacy to our clients. Contact our team today for a free Salmonella Lawsuit consultation.
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