We’ve posted about food dangers before: just because you buy a product in a store doesn’t make it safe. However, when it’s FOOD and someone gets ill from ingesting that product, it’s especially concerning and worrisome. And frustrating for those folk, like personal injury attorneys, who see time and again where companies putting stuff out there for profit sometimes choose money in their own pockets over making sure that consumers are safe. You’d think American groceries could be trustworthy as safe to eat, right? Sometimes, that’s just not true.
Recent Scary Food Recalls Include:
1. Peanut Butter Contaminated with Salmonella
Today, peanut butter has been found to have caused 29 salmonella cases in 18 states. The number is growing. Trader Joe’s voluntarily recalled its “Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter” after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who were investigating the national outbreak, decided that peanut butter was making people sick across the country. Later, Sunland, Inc. expanded the recall of its peanut butter along with other products like almond butter, cashew butter, and other stuff made with peanuts or seeds (read the recall information here).
What is salmonella? It’s a bacteria, and it can kill people. According to the CDC:
- symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
- some persons, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
- The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
2. Arsenic in Rice
Last week, it was announced that it has been discovered that rice sold for human consumption here in the United States was contaminated with a poison: arsenic. That’s right, the same poison you remember being used by villians in classic murder mysteries written by Agatha Christie is showing up in the rice being sold in the neighborhood grocery store. Also in baby food products, and other products made with rice. Like Rice Krispies.
While the arsenic levels in some kinds of rice are considered “worrisome,” there’s been no official recall of rice. Yet. Consumer Reports, who made the discovery, including some very serious things in its report, such as:
- People who ate rice had arsenic levels that were 44 percent greater than those who had not, according to our analysis of federal health data. And certain ethnic groups were more highly affected, including Mexicans, other Hispanics, and a broad category that includes Asians.
- Within any single brand of rice we tested, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were always higher for brown rice than for white.
3. Spinach and Cheese Recalled for Listeria Bacteria
This week, there was also a national recall of spinach because it was discovered that the spinach was contaminated with listeria bacteria. Kroger sold the bacteria-laden spinach in its stores across 15 different states, including Indiana and Illinois, as “Kroger Fresh Selections Tender Spinach,” with the UPC code 0001111091649 and a best-by date of Sept. 16. Various kinds of cheese have also been recalled this month because of listeria contamination.
The cheese that has been recalled includes imported ricotta salata cheese in various product forms, including Forever Cheese, Inc.’s Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese and Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella and/or Ricotta Salata Soft Lot (T9425).
What is listeria? It is a bacteria that makes people sick and can kill them. This month, three (3) people have died from eating cheese that had this listeria bacteria in it and another 15 were so sick that they have had to be hospitalized.
Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteriumListeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, persons with weakened immune systems, and older adults. Rarely, persons without these risk factors can be affected.
A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, often preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has invasive infection (meaning that the bacteria spread from their intestines to the bloodstream or other body sites).
Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in a higher-risk category, including pregnant women, persons with weakened immune systems, and older adults, who experience symptoms within 2 months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the physician or health care provider about eating the contaminated food.
What can you do? Be careful with your food purchases and be aware that there are lots and lots of food recalls. Your grocer should be removing this stuff from sale immediately, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. If you get sick, or someone you love becomes ill, from eating a tainted food item the first thing is to get medical care, and after that to protect the evidence – don’t throw away the packaging, etc. After the danger has passed, then you can think about whether or not to assert a claim.