A California farm is voluntarily recalling bags of chopping romaine lettuce due to food poisoning concerns. According to an Associated Press news report, True Leaf Farms of Salinas is recalling 90 cartons of lettuce, which is believed to have been contaminated with listeria bacteria. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the company that a sample taken as part of a random check tested positive for listeria. The recall covers products with a “use by” date of September 29, 2011 and a bag and box code of “B256-46438-8.”
This listeria recall comes at a time when the nation is witnessing one of the most deadly listeria outbreaks, which has been linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The outbreak involving the tainted cantaloupes has so far caused 16 deaths and 72 illnesses in 18 states including California. Listeria is a type of bacterium that can survive even in room temperatures. Although we may not hear about listeria as often as we do about E. coli or salmonella, this type of infection has the potential to be deadly. In the United States the last known large listeria outbreak happened on 1998 when 21 people died as a result of eating contaminated hot dogs and deli meat.
Symptoms of Listeria Infection
The most common symptoms of a Listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, a stiff neck, and headaches. Those who are older and have compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to these infections. Pregnant women are particularly at risk because listeria can be extremely harmful to fetuses, resulting in birth defects, miscarriages or stillbirths.
Liability Issues in Food Poisoning Cases
It is unclear from these reports if anyone has been sickened or killed as a result of consuming the tainted lettuce. It is important that consumers who have these defective products at home immediately discard them if they have not been consumed or opened. If you have eaten the tainted food, isolate the remainder of the food in a separate bag or box and preserve it so it can be tested in a laboratory for evidence of contamination.
Negligent food producers or those who fail to follow federal and state safety standards can be held liable for the injuries and illnesses their food products cause. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced California personal injury lawyer will better advise victims or their families about their legal rights and options.