Food Borne Illness Makes One in Four of Us Sick Each Year
And it Sometimes Kills
It’s infuriating. And much worse than that, food borne illness can kill you…
Alex Donley was a six-year-old boy who dreamed of becoming a paramedic. But that never happened, because he died.
According to an online article in the Food Safety News, in 1993, Alex succumbed to hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a kidney disease that the worst E. coli infections can cause.
And he got E. coli from bad hamburger.
People Get Sick in 2015, Too
Poor Alex died in 1993, but these problems didn’t miraculously disappear at the end of the 20th century.
In September 2015, Fox News reported that April Beck of Minneapolis MN filed a lawsuit alleging that she suffered salmonella poisoning after eating bad vegetables at a Chipotle restaurant.
The lawsuit states that Ms. Beck entered the hospital because of diarrhea and stomach cramping.
She went home but returned the next day, because blood clots blocked the vessels in her arms.
Unfortunately, Ms. Beck’s not the only one who suffered from foodborne illness, far from it…
Will Food Poisoning Ruin Your Day?
Obviously, nobody knows whether or not a given individual will come down with foodborne illness, but a 2009 online article by CBS news stated that as many as one in four Americans suffer from this problem every single year.
Of course most of us manage to survive our bout with Montezuma’s revenge…
But then we ask ourselves, “How can this happen in one of the most modern countries on earth?”
Why Do We Have So Much Food Poisoning?
The Mayo clinic explains it best…
“Contamination of food can happen at any point during its production: growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. This is especially troublesome for raw, ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other produce. Because these foods aren’t cooked, harmful organisms aren’t destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning.”
Now, let’s look at the beginning of our industrialized food production system.
An American Association for Justice report says that “factory farms” create “superbugs” by excessively using antibiotics. And waste from livestock contaminates water, which pollutes nearby vegetables.
That’s why contamination of green leafy foods like spinach and lettuce is the second-most frequent reason for food-related hospitalizations. And the fifth most persistent cause of food-related death.
But remember, errors in any part of the food production process can poison you.
To avoid foodborne illness, everyone must act with great care at each stage of our highly mechanized food production and delivery system.
One careless mistake and you’re sick, or worse. Maybe that’s why food poisoning makes 48 million Americans ill, causes 3,000 deaths and costs $77 billion.
How to Prevent Foodborne Illness
You can start by following these suggestions that WebMD makes:
• Cook food from animal sources such as eggs and meat thoroughly and buy pasteurized milk products.
• Don’t leave these foods outside of the refrigerator for long periods of time.
• Try not to use wooden cutting boards because they are more difficult to clean.
WebMD has many more suggestions, which you can find on its website.
What to Do if All Else Fails
You have many choices if you get seriously ill from food poisoning despite your attempts to protect yourself, or if someone you love dies.
You may contact a variety of government agencies, get the press involved or join an organization that tries to make our food supply safer.
Or you may choose to hire an attorney to help you fight for justice…
If you decide to go that route, or you have any questions at all about foodborne illness, please feel free to call us.
If you’d like to discuss your specific case of food poisoning with us, please call (773) 779-9885.