In November of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a food safety alert for romaine lettuce grown in California. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified the source of an E. coli outbreak as growing sites in: Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo.
If you have purchased any type of romaine lettuce or salad product that contains romaine from any of these places, or you cannot identify the origin, throw it away immediately. If you stored any type of romaine lettuce heads, hearts, salad mixes with romaine, baby romaine, spring mix, or any other potentially contaminated foods in your refrigerator, follow the CDC’s step-by-step guide to properly decontaminate your refrigerator.
If you suffered E. coli exposure symptoms from romaine lettuce recently, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. A lawsuit may be brought against the grower, the grocery store, or the restaurant that served it. However, it is important to note that food poisoning lawsuits can be difficult for several reasons. Primarily, it is essential to accurately trace the origin of your food poisoning. Food poisoning symptoms usually take several days to appear after eating contaminated food. It may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused your illness.
Most attorneys who handle food poisoning lawsuits know to look out for similar cases in your area. For example, if you believe you contracted food poisoning after eating at a certain restaurant, and your attorney discovers that other people in your area have reported similar claims after eating at the same restaurant, this would support your claim that the restaurant caused your food poisoning.
The responsible party in a food poisoning claim could vary. Responsible parties could include the grower that produced the contaminated food, the distributor that mishandled foods in transit, or a retailer or restaurant that failed to acknowledge a known food safety warning.
Anyone with a food poisoning claim must remember a plaintiff must have incurred actual harm or measurable losses of some kind to take legal action. These are some of the potential damages in a food poisoning lawsuit.
Ultimately, the decision to file a lawsuit is a personal choice. It is important to remember minor cases of food poisoning may not warrant legal action. Pursuing a lawsuit may not be worth the trouble if you would only potentially recover minimal compensation.
However, if your food poisoning episode required hospitalization, or you faced exposure to a particularly harmful bacteria like E. coli, then it may be worth exploring your options for legal recourse by meeting with a reliable San Jose personal injury attorney in your area.