food poisoning liability

The last thing anyone wants after they’ve enjoyed a meal is to become mysteriously and violently ill. If you’ve been hit with a bad case of food poisoning, you are unfortunately familiar with the horrible side effects of eating contaminated or spoiled food.

While many people have experienced food poisoning, few are aware that there are legal remedies for victims. If you fell ill from food poisoning, you may be able to seek financial compensation with the help of a skilled product liability lawyer in Florida.

Common sources of food poisoning

In food product liability, there are two types of claims: food contamination and food poisoning. Food contamination refers to food that had a foreign object in it, like rocks, animal parts, glass, and more.

Food poisoning happens when food-borne pathogens make their way into food. These can result from a number of conditions, such as:

  • Unsanitary food preparation conditions
  • Improper food storage
  • Improper handling of food
  • Not washing hands
  • Contamination from toxic chemicals, animal waste, polluted water, and other environmental hazards
  • Not cooking food for long enough
  • Leaving food out of the fridge for too long before preparing it

Food poisoning can occur from eating various types of food and at any location. Even if you’re eating at a clean restaurant, it’s still possible that the kitchen is not maintaining the proper health code standards.

Common culprits of food poisoning

Many cases of food poisoning come from the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Seafood
  • Frozen foods
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products

Exercise caution when eating out. If a food or beverage seems “off,” it’s safer to avoid it rather than assuming it’s okay to eat.

When you eat at a restaurant, it’s reasonable to expect that the food you consume has been sourced from a reputable place and prepared correctly in safe conditions. However, parties in the food distribution chain cut corners to save time and money, leading to food-borne illnesses that cause people to become extraordinarily ill.

Who is responsible for a contaminated food claim or food poisoning?

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for the food contamination or which party failed to properly care for the food. It could be anyone in the food’s chain of manufacturing and distribution, including:

  • The company that grew the food
  • The company that sourced the food
  • The food producer
  • The wholesaler
  • The retailer
  • The grocery store that sold the food
  • The restaurant that served the food

Investigating the exact cause and source of food poisoning can be incredibly complex. A food product liability lawyer can help determine which party is negligible.

Common foodborne pathogens that cause serious illness

At best, food poisoning can pass within a couple of days, leaving the victim weak but in stable condition. However, at worst, food poisoning can lead to even more serious medical conditions including the following.

E. coli

E. coli is a common bacteria found in undercooked ground beef, raw milk and juice, and raw fruits and vegetables (lettuce, leafy greens, sprouts, etc.)

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can be found in raw or undercooked shellfish, contaminated drinking water, and uncooked foods.


Botulism is a serious condition caused by bacteria commonly found in improperly preserved foods, improperly canned commercial foods, herb-infused oils, and cheese sauce.

Infants are susceptible to botulism through honey and products containing honey, such as infant pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey.


Campylobacter can be found in raw milk, chicken, turkey, shellfish, and contaminated water.


Listeria may be found in raw milk and dairy products, soft cheese made with raw milk, raw fruits and vegetables, ready-to-eat deli meats, refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads, and refrigerated smoked seafood.


Norovirus is found in produce, shellfish, ready-to-eat foods (salads, sandwiches, pastries, etc.), or any food contaminated with particles of vomit or feces from an infected person.


Salmonella can be found in various foods, including beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and eggs.

What should I do after experiencing food poisoning at a store or restaurant?

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience food poisoning. It’s also helpful to track what and when you ate and the location.

If you purchased the food, take note of which grocery store you bought it from and save the rest of the food and the packaging. Keep those until you have a chance to speak with a food product liability lawyer.

Contact a leading food poisoning liability lawyer today

If you have been the victim of food or beverage poisoning or contamination, contact our firm to speak with an experienced Florida food product liability lawyer. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will help you claim the compensation you are entitled to.

Call us at (561) 655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation with one of our skilled product liability lawyers. We look forward to speaking with you.

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