Food Poisoning in Southwest Florida Restaurants
From 1998 to 2015, 52 people in Florida died due to foodborne illnesses, or food poisoning.¹ This is compounded by over 31,000 illnesses and over 2,000 hospitalizations. Food poisoning is actually a reaction to harmful bacteria, viruses, and microbes that enter the body through food. While it is possible to contract food poisoning through food prepared at home, according to the CDC 68% of outbreaks occur from restaurants.² If a restaurant fails to properly source, manage, and prepare food responsibly, resulting in sickness or even hospitalization, it may be prudent to seek litigation, especially if the incident resulted in incurred debt.
Three common bacteria and viruses that lead to food poisoning are salmonella, listeria, and norovirus. These are by no means the only causes for affliction but do comprise the largest percentage of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths related to foodborne illnesses.
- Salmonella- There were more than one million people in the US from 2000-2008 that became sick due to the bacteria Salmonella.³ Salmonella results from undercooked meats and eggs, so make sure that a restaurant properly prepares your food to the proper temperature, especially if dining with small children or the elderly. Salmonella leads to flu-like symptoms that can last up to seven days.
- Listeria- This bacteria found mostly in dairy is especially important to monitor in Florida because over half of the cases of listeria in the US are in people 65 years or older. Listeria results in flu-like symptoms, which can cause dangerous levels of dehydration in the elderly. To prevent listeria poisoning, make sure to eat cheeses made with pasteurized milk, and refrain from eating soft cheeses.
- Norovirus- From 2000-2008 there were over five million cases of norovirus in the US, resulting in 150 deaths. This virus is incredibly contagious and just a small amount of it and can infect. Norovirus results in the inflammation of the stomach and intestines, causing flu like symptoms that are dangerous or the young and elderly. It is important that an infected person not prepare food for 48 hours after the symptoms stop, as food is often the biggest transporters of the virus.
Who to call
Many of us go to restaurants our whole lives and never contract food poisoning. However, if it happens to you it is important to determine if the restaurant acted in every way possible to prevent the illness. If you have become sick after eating at a restaurant and believe the establishment holds some responsibility, it is important to seek legal counsel. SWFL attorneys at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice, and Purtz have over 50 years of legal experience in dealing with personal injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.