Food litigation is becoming an increasingly important area in the law. The recent salmonella outbreak is a classic example. Many consumers are surprised to learn that many deaths and permanent physical injuries happen each year from food borne illnesses. The causes are numerous and the types of foods vary from fruits and vegetables to meats and seafood. Many times there is nothing the unsuspecting consumer can do to prevent the infection and resulting injury. With that in mind one needs to consider the legal issues involved in securing a recovery from food borne illnesses.
The first step is to determine the source of the pathogen. Usually this involves an epidemiological analysis that includes a trace to the likely source of contamination. This step often requires an understanding of the characteristics of the specific pathogen including its incubation periods.
A serious legal analysis requires looking at the various processes involved in the food production cycle. One must examine the entire process from production and distribution to preparation of the food. Potential defendants include restaurants, food suppliers, manufacturers, sellers, and even growers or ranchers.
- There are various legal theories of recovery. The main legal claims for injuries from food borne illnesses sound in Negligence, Strict Liability, and Breach of Warranty. To prove these claims requires the use of a variety of experts including epidemiologists, food safety experts, treating medical doctors and pathologists. If you have legal questions about a serious food borne illness contact a serious law firm that has handled death and severe injury cases from food borne illnesses.