Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks are a serious public health concern.
Consumers have a right to expect that the foods they purchase are safe to eat and will not cause them harm and that the companies they purchase these products from are using the highest food safety standards.
When companies do not adhere to these standards, especially those set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), their negligence puts consumers at unnecessary risk of food poisoning.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is the name of a group of potentially harmful bacteria. In the United States, it is a common source of foodborne illness. Salmonella occurs in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
How is Salmonella Contracted?
A salmonella infection occurs when people ingest the bacteria, typically from a food product derived from infected food or animals, but the illness can also occur by ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person.
What is Salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by exposure to salmonella bacteria. The symptoms of a salmonella infection typically dissipate after a week; however, some people may require hospitalization. If a salmonella infection spreads into the bloodstream, it can even prove fatal. It is important for anyone exhibiting symptoms of salmonella infection to seek medical treatment immediately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common symptoms of salmonella infection include:
- abdominal cramps, and
- fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.
Illnesses typically last about 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment; however, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
In rare cases, infection with salmonella can result in the bacteria getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.
Sources of Salmonella Infection
Foods that commonly lead to salmonella infection include:
- Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or seafood
- Raw or undercooked eggs or egg products
- Raw or unpasteurized dairy food product, such as milk or cheeses
- Uncooked fruits and vegetables
- Contaminated water
There are several other ways you can get salmonella, including:
- Person-to-person contact through the fecal-oral route, which can occur if you don't wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
- Touching a contaminated object or surface and then touching your face or mouth.
- Through contact with infected pets or farm animals, particularly reptiles and birds.
By handling contaminated pet foods or pet treats, such as pig ears.
How is Salmonella Diagnosed?
Diagnosing a salmonella illness requires testing a specimen (sample), such as stool or blood. Testing can help guide treatment decisions. Infection is diagnosed when a laboratory test detects salmonella bacteria in stool, body tissue, or fluids.
Complications of a salmonella food poisoning infection may include:
- Bacteremia – a life-threatening infection of the blood that can infect the brain (meningitis), heart (endocarditis), bones (osteomyelitis), and other parts of the body.
- Sepsis - Potentially fatal condition that occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body.
- Colitis - Inflammatory reaction in the colon, often autoimmune or infectious.
- Reactive Arthritis – Eye irritation, painful urination, painful joints, and other sources of pain.
- Meningitis – a brain infection
- Wrongful Death
How Does Salmonella Cause Food Poisoning?
Certain bacteria in the group salmonella cause salmonella food poisoning. These bacteria live in the intestines of humans and animals. Human infection results when food or water that has been contaminated with infected feces is ingested. Gastrointestinal salmonella infection typically affects the small intestine.
Because salmonella-contaminated food poisoning illness can be dehydrating, treatment involves replacing fluids and electrolytes. Severe cases may require hospitalization and fluids delivered directly into a vein (intravenous). In addition, your doctor may recommend anti-diarrheal medications to help relieve cramping or, in severe cases, antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
What Happens if You Leave Salmonella Untreated?
In some cases, diarrhea associated with salmonella illness can be so dehydrating as to require prompt medical attention. Life-threatening complications also may develop if the infection spreads beyond the intestines and into the bloodstream.
How Can I Tell if My Food is Contaminated with Salmonella?
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to tell if a food is contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Contaminated foods typically look, smell, and taste normal. Contaminated food sources associated with salmonella outbreaks include poultry, eggs, red meat, raw milk, and dairy products. Recent food poisoning outbreaks have also been linked to unpasteurized orange juice, cantaloupe, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and other fresh produce.
Am I At Risk?
Salmonella infects people of all age groups and backgrounds. Children, the elderly, and people who have compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk for severe illness. Children experience the highest risk of salmonellosis; children under the age of 5 are diagnosed with salmonella food poisoning more frequently than all other people.
Recent Salmonella Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Recalls
- Wood Ear Mushrooms – Salmonella Stanley - 55 people from 12 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley linked to wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. On September 23, 2020, Wismettac Asian Foods recalled dried fungus due to possible salmonella contamination.
- Peaches – Salmonella Enteritidis - 101 people from 17 states were infected in a food poisoning outbreak linked to peaches packed or supplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company.
- Onions – Salmonella Newport - 1,127 people in 48 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport linked to red onions from Thomson International Inc. On August 1, 2020, Thomson recalled all red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions.
- Cut Fruit – Salmonella Javiana - 165 people from 14 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Javiana linked to New Jersey cut fruit.
- Ground Beef – Salmonella Dublin - Central Valley Meat Co. on Nov. 15, 2019, issued a recall for 34,222 pounds of ground beef that was found be contaminated with Salmonella Dublin. Thirteen people from 8 states were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin.
- Papayas – Salmonella Uganda - 81 people from 9 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Uganda linked to Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico and distributed by Agroson’s LLC.
- Tahini Produced by Achdut Ltd. – Salmonella Concord - 8 people from 4 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Concord linked to tahini products from Achdut Ltd. On November 27, 2018, Achdut Ltd. recalled all of its tahini products.
- Raw Chicken Products – Salmonella Infantis - 129 people from 32 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis linked to raw chicken products from a variety of sources. Twenty-five people were hospitalized and 1 death was reported in New York.
- Ground Beef – Salmonella Newport - 403 people in 30 states were infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport linked to ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson, Inc. On October 4, 2018, JBS Tolleson recalled nearly 7 million pounds of beef products. Two months later, the company recalled an additional 5.2 million pounds of beef.
- 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur each year in the United States
- 95% of those cases are foodborne-related
- Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases of salmonellosis result in hospitalization and 8 of every 1000 cases result in death
- About 500 to 1,000 (31%) of all food-related deaths are caused by salmonella infections each year in the U.S.
How Do You Prove Salmonella?
The first point of contact for most victims of a salmonellosis infection is their doctor. Following confirmation of infection from salmonella, individuals are often contacted by a public health official. The mere fact that you have been diagnosed with salmonella creates a significant likelihood that you may have a food poisoning case. Contact the law firm of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, to learn more today.
Can You Sue for Salmonella?
If you or a loved one has suffered injury from a salmonella outbreak or poisoning, you should contact an experienced law firm to evaluate your claim. The personal injury attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, have been handling poisoning claims for years, and want to fight for your compensation. Call a salmonella lawyer today at (866) 588-0600 to set up a free appointment to evaluate your salmonella claim.
Typical Defendants in a Salmonella Lawsuit
Typical defendants in a salmonella lawsuit can include:
- A restaurant if the contaminated food was consumed there
- A supermarket if the tainted food was purchased there
- The host of a gathering where contaminated food was provided
- The manufacturer or producer of tainted food
If the contaminated food was sold to you, then it would be considered a defective product and the lawsuit would be pursued by a food poisoning lawyer under the strict-liability defective product theory. A common law negligence claim would be used against the defendants that did not sell the food to you.
Do I Need a Salmonella Lawyer? Free Salmonella Poisoning Lawsuit Review.
The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in salmonella lawsuits. Our law firm is handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new food poisoning cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has experienced symptoms of salmonella illness, please contact our law firm immediately for a free consultation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a salmonella food poisoning lawsuit and our attorneys can help.