We’ve all probably noticed an uptick in food safety announcements on the news or in the papers. With Chipotle staring down headlines after several outbreaks this year and another peanut butter recall hitting the shelves, it’s pretty hard to ignore. E. Coli, Salmonella, and Botulism have all made the primetime news, ending up in mass-produced food and unknowingly consumed by hungry customers. While many of these cases end in recovery, there have been many unfortunate deaths from tainted food.
Food poisoning from poorly prepared food falls under product liability and personal injury law. The public should reasonably be able to assume that food sold to them is free of dangerous bacteria. When a company makes a food product that is tainted during the manufacturing process and fails to discover the tainted product through quality testing, they are selling a defective product.
When a company knowingly uses bad peanuts—well, that’s another case altogether.
From Peanuts to Prison
The largest case to date dealing with a food poisoning outbreak stretches back about seven years ago to a salmonella outbreak caused by peanut butter. Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell, the owner of Peanut Corporation of America and the food broker for the company, respectively, were convicted in 2014 of fraud and many other federal charges. They received the stiffest punishments to date for their role in selling tainted food to the public.
Unfortunately, the long prison times the brothers will be facing in the landmark case against Peanut Corporation of America does little for those who lost family members because of the tainted peanut butter. Over 714 people fell ill and 9 people died after eating the contaminated nut butter. In addition to the criminal court system, these individuals can sue the Parnell’s and the Peanut Corporation of America under personal injury law. Not only did their product injure people, resulting in lost work and medical bills, but it lead to the wrongful deaths of 9 loved ones.
Food safety is extremely important. There are specific regulations for preparing and packaging foods aimed at protecting consumers. When a trusted company like Peanut Corporation of America sidesteps those regulations to make money and endanger the lives of Americans, they should be held liable, not only in criminal court, but also in civil court. This is where knowing a great New York personal injury lawyer comes in.
Peanut butter isn’t the only culprit. Tainted beef and greens, among other foods, have been sold to the public in the past few years. And while some of this contaminated foods only lead to short bout of food poisoning, others have lead to life-changing illnesses and even death. If you think you’ve been adversely affected by a food product, your first step should be speaking with a New York personal injury lawyer. Chances are, you’re not alone. A free consultation with a New York personal injury lawyer will help you better understand your rights and whether or not you have a case. Just like Peanut Corporation of America, companies that negligently sell tainted foods to the public should be held responsible.