Food safety is incredibly important because of the large number of restaurants readily available to consumers. In 2015, there were 17,900 eating and drinking locations in the state of Georgia, representing approximately $18.9 billion in sales.
Unfortunately, foodborne illnesses are fairly common throughout the U.S., despite strict regulations of the food industry. Salmonella, a bacterial disease that can often cause food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and other illnesses, is ranked as the second most common intestinal infection in the country. Nearly 1.5 million Americans are affected by salmonella each year due to the ease of spreading in contaminated water or food. This foodborne illness is contributed to many hospitalizations and even deaths each year.
The topic of food poisoning has hit home in Cobb County in recent months, as a local Marietta restaurant has been linked to numerous outbreaks of salmonella poisoning this year. Many locals have been affected by this foodborne outbreak and are seeking legal representation for the potential liability following their illness. Jones & Swanson hopes to educate readers on how to identify food poisoning, as well as how to best prevent it.
Meat, poultry, and eggs are the most common foods associated with salmonella, but the bacteria can also contaminate fruits and vegetables. Salmonella comes from the intestines of birds, animals, and humans. Typically, human infections are caused by drinking or eating food that has been contaminated by excrement. The most common symptoms of salmonella include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Body aches
Its affects are often felt between 12 and 72 hours after infection, and can last 4 to 7 days. Sometimes individuals can recover without treatment, but it can also lead to more serious health concerns. Food poisoning isn’t always preventable, though, so here are some actions you can take if you suspect a foodborne illness:
- Seek medical treatment. This is especially true for children, elders, pregnant mothers, and those with a weakened immune system. Many victims choose not to seek medical attention right away, but it is important to do so particularly if symptoms are persistent or prolonged. When visiting a medical provider, request that they take blood and stool samples so that pathogens causing the issue can be identified.
- Preserve all packaging materials and unconsumed parts of food you believe contributed to the illness. This allows for testing and examination when necessary.
- Take photographs of food believed to be contaminated.
- Document the purchase of the suspected food with receipts, credit card records, or purchase orders.
- Report the food poisoning to the local health department immediately so that an investigation can be started.
- Do not take medications unless instructed to do so by a doctor.
- Determine whether others who consumed the same foods are experiencing similar food poisoning symptoms. Document contact information of those who are affected.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of clear liquids and avoiding caffeinated and dairy products.
Unfortunately, many food poisoning outbreaks are credited to restaurants, which typically affects numerous people. Especially because of the recent reports of Marietta food poisoning, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and understand what steps should be taken if affected.
At Jones & Swanson, it is our duty to make our clients aware of their legal rights. We can help our clients get compensation for serious infections and complications. If you or someone you know has been affected by salmonella or any other bacterial infection brought on by a restaurant or food production company, contact us at 770-427-5498 for a free consultation.