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Food Safety: Buyer Beware

Every so often you hear of a friend or family member who becomes ill after a restaurant visit or eating a meal prepared at home. Fortunately most of the time the discomfort passes quickly, but sometimes the illness results in death. The illness can be caused by deficiencies in the production, processing or preparation of food. Recent headlines remind us that the dangers are as close as your local supermarket or favorite restaurant.

In late September, the specter of one of the worst foodborne illness outbreaks in American history came back to haunt Jensen Farms’ owners Ryan and Eric Jenson. Arrested in Colorado, the two face federal charges for contaminated cantaloupes that sickened 147 and killed 33 people across 28 states. Charged with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, investigators allege the following:

  • Old machinery used on Jensen Farms was not easily cleaned and harbored bacteria
  • Remaining cantaloupe found on the farm harbored bacteria
  • Water was left to pool in a storage area that could have spread contamination among the produce
  • An independent auditor failed to require the farm to use a chlorine wash on the cantaloupes

A food safety auditor and a distributor face multiple lawsuits in the injuries and deaths of the victims.

Although the outbreak occurred in 2011, the charges brought against the Jensen brothers continue to sharpen focus on food safety in 2013. In many ways, food safety seems no better than two years ago.

In August of this year, New York Mills, a New York company, recalled more than 12,000 pounds of boneless veal due to concern it may be contaminated with the bacteria, Escherichia coli, commonly known as E.coli.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to know what food is dangerous until you get sick. If you or a family member is injured through foodborne contamination in Long Island, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Se habla español.

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