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Experienced Orange County Food Poisoning Attorneys

E coli petri dishOne of the things you shouldn’t have to worry about when you go out to eat is if your food is safe. Product liability law requires that the makers and sellers of products have a duty to make sure the products they put on the market are safe for use by the public. The improper handling or storage of food causes dangerous bacteria to grow such as E. coli or Salmonella. It doesn’t take long for you to know you have food poisoning. Usually its several hours to the next day. When pursuing a food poisoning case, it can be difficult to hold a food provider accountable for serving food that has not been properly handled or stored. An immediate course of action would be to call your local department of public health. They will send an inspector out to find any health code violations.

In Case of Suspected Foodborne Illness

Follow these general guidelines:

  1. Preserve the evidence. If a portion of the suspect food is available, wrap it securely, mark “DANGER” and freeze it. Save all the packaging materials, such as cans or cartons. Write down the food type, the date, other identifying marks on the package, the time consumed, and when the onset of symptoms occurred. Save any identical unopened products.

  2. Seek treatment as necessary. If the victim is in an “at risk” group, seek medical care immediately. Likewise, if symptoms persist or are severe (such as bloody diarrhea, excessive nausea and vomiting, or high temperature), call your doctor.

  3. Call the local health department if the suspect food was served at a large gathering, from a restaurant or other food service facility, or if it is a commercial product.

  4. Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) if the suspect food is a USDA-inspected product and you have all the packaging.

  5. Contact our Orange County food poisoning attorneys (949) 234-6034. We have years of experience in holding restaurants and hotel chains accountable for serving poor quality food.

Departments of Public Health

Los Angeles – (888) 700-9995
Orange County – (714) 433-6418
Riverside County – (951) 358-5000
San Bernardino County – (888) 818-8988

Luckily there are some common tests to find bacteria in food such as a Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) test. PFGE is a technique used by scientists to generate a DNA fingerprint for a bacterial isolate. PFGE may be used for genotyping or genetic fingerprinting. It is commonly considered a gold standard in epidemiological studies of pathogenic organisms. Subtyping has made it easier to discriminate among strains of Listeria monocytogenes and thus to link environmental or food isolates with clinical infections.

How Can I Tell if I Have A Foodborne Illness

Given the endless choices of diseases and causes you can see how there would also be a wide variety of symptoms. There is no one set of symptoms that denotes foodborne illness. The one commonality is that the microbe or toxin enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract. So the initial symptoms begin there.

Common Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Contact A Food Poisoning Attorney

BE AWARE! The law limits the time you have to file suit for foodborne illness claims. If you miss this deadline you may be denied the right to file suit later. Silverthorne Attorneys has extensive experience in dealing with cases of food poisoning. Our skilled food poisoning attorneys in Orange County have offices in Ladera Ranch, Huntington Beach and Anaheim. We are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Do not wait any longer, call today for a free consultation.

Learn More About Foodborne Illness

Most common types of bacteria that cause food poisoning:

Toxoplasmosis is considered to be a leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States. More than 60 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. During the first few weeks after exposure, the infection typically causes a mild, flu-like illness or no illness. However, those with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS and pregnant women, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal.

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Virulent strains of E. coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. In rarer cases, virulent strains are also responsible for hemolytic-uremic syndrome, peritonitis, mastitis, septicemia and Gram-negative pneumonia.

Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterium that causes the infection listeriosis. It is a facultative anaerobic bacterium, capable of surviving in the presence or absence of oxygen. It can grow and reproduce inside the host’s cells and is one of the most virulent food-borne pathogens, with 20 to 30 percent of clinical infections resulting in death. Due to its frequent pathogenicity, causing meningitis in newborns (acquired transvaginally), pregnant mothers are often advised not to eat soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, feta, and queso blanco fresco, which may be contaminated with and permit growth of L. monocytogenes. It is the third-most-common cause of meningitis in newborns.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.

Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) is a spore-forming gram-positive bacterium that is found in many environmental sources as well as in the intestines of humans and animals. C. perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry. It prefers to grow in conditions with very little or no oxygen, and under ideal conditions can multiply very rapidly.

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Almost all persons infected with Campylobacter recover without any specific treatment. Patients should drink extra fluids as long as the diarrhea lasts. Antimicrobial therapy is warranted only for patients with severe disease or those at high risk for severe disease, such as those with immune systems severely weakened from medications or other illnesses.

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) a common bacterium found on the skin and in the noses of up to 25% of healthy people and animals. Usually it causes no illness in these healthy people unless it is transmitted to food products. Staphylococcus aureus is important because it has the ability to make several types of toxins, many of which are responsible for food poisoning. Staphylococcal food poisoning is a gastrointestinal illness. It is caused by eating foods contaminated with toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Food workers who carry Staphylococcus and then handle food without washing their hands contaminate foods by direct contact.

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