Articles Posted in Food Recall

In the unfortunate event of the recall of a product owned by a Maryland consumer, the first step is to get rid of the affected product. The recall will have details on how to properly dispose of the product and may include returning it or throwing it away. Affected consumers also generally will be entitled to a refund or a replacement, depending on the recall, so they should check the notice for how to get reimbursed for the damaged product. Registering a product after purchase is useful because it may alert consumers to product recalls and may allow them to get reimbursed easily. Any consumer who believes they may have suffered because of a defective product should consult with a Maryland product liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Are companies liable for injuries caused by recalled products?

A product recall is a sign that the product was defective and that the company may be liable for injuries caused by the product. The type of claim a consumer may file after an injury depends on the circumstances surrounding the injury and the type of defect. In a negligence claim, the consumer generally must show that the defendant owed the consumer a duty, that the defendant breached that duty by manufacturing or selling a dangerous product, that the product’s defect caused the consumer’s injuries, and that the consumer suffered damages. In a strict liability claim, the consumer does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent in any way.

The consumer must prove only that the product was defective at the moment it left the defendant’s control, that there was no substantial change in the product’s condition when it reached the consumer, that the product was unreasonably dangerous, and that the product’s defect caused the consumer’s injuries. In any event, a consumer should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible who can evaluate their claim.

When individuals eat, they expect the food to be healthy and safe for consumption. Unfortunately, contaminated food can make its way into grocery stores and restaurants without anyone realizing it until it is too late. For example, last month a large food company voluntarily recalled around 200,000 pounds of hard-boiled and peeled eggs after they were linked to a listeria outbreak. According to a prominent news source covering the recall, the outbreak affected five states, including Pennsylvania which borders Maryland. As a result, one individual died and four were hospitalized.

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration discovered listeria during a routine inspection of the food company’s facility. Listeria causes fever, diarrhea, nausea, headache, and stiffness, and typically those who eat contaminated food show symptoms one to four weeks afterward. The resulting illness can be severe, and sometimes deadly: about 260 people die from it each year, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When individuals get ill or suffer premature death as a result of eating contaminated food, a voluntary recall of the product is too little, too late. While the recall may prevent others from being harmed from the product, it does not help the victims and their families, who may have accumulated large medical expenses. However, Maryland law provides an avenue for these individuals to recover against the food company through civil suits. Those directly harmed and/or their families may be able to bring a negligence claim against the food manufacturer. To be successful in these claims, the plaintiff typically must show that the manufacturer had a duty to ensure that the food was safe, that the manufacturer breached their duty either through an act or an omission, that the manufacturer’s breach caused the plaintiff’s illness, and that the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result.

The recent listeria outbreak has been making national news over the past several weeks. According to a prominent news source, some leading organic food companies have had to issue recalls for some of their packaged foods. One organic food company had to recall almost 75,000 cases of frozen food because they possibly contained contaminated spinach.

Listeria is a disease that can result in extreme illness and in some cases even death. Young children, the elderly, and those who have a weakened immune system are particularly prone to developing a serious case of the disease. Some of the common initial symptoms of listeria include diarrhea, nausea, headache, and stiffness. Often, listeria goes undiagnosed because the initial symptoms mirror the flu. Pregnant women also face a danger of miscarriage and stillbirth if they contract the disease.

Some common items that have been recalled in this most recent outbreak are various types of tofus, pasta shells, spinach pizza, brown rice and vegetable bowls, and other frozen dishes made by these companies. Sadly, five people have developed listeria after eating contaminated food, and three of those individuals have died as a result.

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Earlier this week, and just in time for Memorial Day barbeques, Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit, Michigan, announced a recall of its ground beef, recalling 1.8 million pounds of meat. According to a report by Parade, the company announced that there was possible E. Coli contamination in the meat and recalled it because there had been reports that consumers had been getting sick after consuming the meat.

Thus far, there have been 11 instances of people getting sick from the contaminated meat. The reports of illness have come from Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. So far, no one from Maryland, Virginia, or DC has been reported ill.

Another Contaminated Batch of Food

In the same article by Parade, a recall of hummus sold by Trader Joe’s stores and Target stores was also mentioned. The 15,000 pounds of hummus were recalled due to the presence of listeria in some of the tested product. Evidently, the Texas Department of Health found the contaminated hummus while conducting a routine check on chick peas, the primary ingredient in hummus. Once the contaminated batch was located, both Trader Joe’s and Target voluntarily recalled all the products that came from that plant around that time. In total, 10 products were removed from the shelves.

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