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Food Poisoning Attorneys in New Jersey

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If You Suffer a Foodborne Illness, Speak to an Attorney

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, one in six Americans - a staggering 48 million people - will get sick as a result of food poisoning, and 3,000 will die.

Food poisoning is spread mainly through contaminated food and water. Contaminated food contains infectious organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which when ingested result in illness. Food contamination can happen during food production, processing, storing, or preparation. If you were injured by food poisoning while dining out, remember: it’s not your fault. To find out more about how a New Jersey injury lawyer may be able to help you claim compensation for your illness, please call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.

Common Types of Food Poisoning

Here are the more common types of food poisoning in the United States:

  • Salmonella: This bacteria lives on raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk, or egg yolks. If not cooked properly, salmonella survives. People infected by salmonella often suffer fever, chills, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. If the diarrhea is severe, the victim may need to be hospitalized.
  • Listeria: This bacteria affects hot dogs, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw produce. It can be spread through contaminated soil and water. Listeria can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, and lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as fatal infections after the birth. Infants might also experience neurological damage and suffer from delayed development.
  • E. coli: A bacteria often found on beef contaminated with feces during slaughter, and spread mainly by undercooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water. E. coli can cause kidney failure, especially in the elderly, children, and people with weakened immune systems.
  • Hepatitis A: Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish often receive this virus through contamination from fecal matter of an infected food handler. Hepatitis A causes an inflammation of the liver, and can make someone sick for months.
  • Clostridium botulinum: This bacteria can be found in home-canned foods with low acidity, improperly canned commercial foods, smoked or salted fish, potatoes baked in aluminum foil, and other foods kept at warm temperatures for too long. Botulism poisoning is rare, but extremely dangerous to victims. These neurotoxins can paralyze the victim permanently, or cause death.
  • Norovirus: A very contagious virus found in raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish, often spread by contaminated water or an infected food handler. A classic "stomach bug," this virus is easily spread in crowded places, and gives its victims vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. The CDC estimates it is responsible for half of all foodborne illness outbreaks every year.

Food poisoning is especially dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, and infants. One of the most dangerous complication that can arise from food poisoning is dehydration. Dehydration can be fatal, and victims often need fluids delivered through in IV to treat this complication.

Signs and symptoms may start very shortly after consuming contaminated food, or they may start weeks later. Food poisoning usually lasts from a couple hours to a few days all the way to several months from the onset of symptoms.

How to Avoid Food Poisoning

There are ways to mitigate your chances of contracting food poisoning, if you prepare your own food:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before cooking, and always after touching raw meat. Clean utensils and dishes that were used to hold raw meat, fish, eggs and poultry.
  • Read cooking directions on frozen foods and follow cooking times carefully.
  • Don’t drink water from ponds, streams, or rivers.
  • If a food has a strange scent or bad odor, do not cook or eat it.
  • Do not eat old food, or cans that have a bulging dent. A bulging dent is a sign of botulism.

However, none of this advice will help if the food poisoning came from a pre-packaged food product from a store, or food prepared at a restaurant.

If you or a loved one suffered injury due to food poisoning, Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., is here to help. We can hold food manufacturers, processors, and suppliers liable for the illnesses caused by their products. If you got food poisoning while dining out, we can hold negligent restaurant management, cooks, and employees liable. We can fight to get you compensation for damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and emotional suffering. Call our NJ foodborne illness lawyers at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation.

Additional Information

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty five years.

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