What Is Foodborne Disease?

Food poisoning is the result of consuming foods or beverages contaminated with disease-causing microbes or pathogens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 250 foodborne diseases in the United States. These diseases trigger different symptoms, and it’s always important to report a suspected case of foodborne poisoning and visit a medical professional.

What Are the Most Common Foodborne Diseases?

Campylobacter, which causes fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. This is the most recognized cause of diarrhea in the world. The bacteria lives on healthy birds as well as raw meat.

Salmonella, which is present in birds, mammals (including domestic cats and dogs), and reptiles. An infection is generally not life-threatening – unless the infected person already suffers from a weakened immune system.

E. coli, which is most commonly found in cattle and similar animals. Symptoms of E. coli food poisoning include bloody diarrhea and muscle cramps. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a complication that affects 3-5 percent of individuals infected with E. coli.

When Should I Seek Medical Treatment?

If you suspect you have food poisoning, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, especially if you’re already an “at risk” individual with a weakened immune system. Follow the rule of thumb: when in doubt, have it checked out. Since some instances of food poisoning can result in devastating complications, it’s critical to ensure that you fully recover from the infection.

Of course, this is an individual choice based on how you’re feeling. Many individuals experiencing mild symptoms choose to “ride out” the food poisoning and recover just fine. Remember that even though you think you have food poisoning, you’ll never know for certain unless specimens of blood, vomit, or stool are tested. There are many conditions that result in similar symptoms. Visiting a medical professional is the only way to determine the actual cause.

What Should I Do with My Leftover Food?

If you think the food from a restaurant has poisoned you, it’s relevant to know that the Health Department will not test foods no longer in “custody” of the restaurant. In other words, once food has left the premises, it’s no longer eligible for examination. You can still have the food examined on your own, but it will not be included as evidence in any future investigation performed by the Health Department. Throwing out leftover foods will not hurt any potential case you have.

How Can I Prevent Food Poisoning?

The symptoms of food poisoning are uncomfortable at best and life threatening at worst. It’s crucial to understand the steps you and your household can take to reduce the likelihood of food poisoning. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent foodborne illness – even if the food is contaminated. These include:

  • Washing your hands. Whether you’ve just used the bathroom or are returning home from work, it’s important to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. This kills the germs that can otherwise cause illness.
  • Storing food properly. Be sure that fruits and vegetables are bagged separately from meats at the grocery store, and always follow the storage directions on the labels. When preparing foods, use separate utensils and cutting boards for meats and vegetables.
  • Cooking food thoroughly. Raw and undercooked meat are the primary culprits behind food poisoning. Even if a piece of meat is contaminated, cooking it thoroughly could kill the germs and prevent illness.

How Can I Stay Updated on Food Poisoning News?

If you’re interested in staying up to date on outbreaks and what you can do to keep your family safe, be sure to keep your eyes on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Ron Simon & Associates. Aside from covering the latest news and information on food poisoning issues throughout the nation, we also post news on the latest litigation cases.

We have over two decades of experience and have helped clients recover more than $600,000,000 from food poisoning cases. Readers in over 180 countries follow our posts to learn more about potential outbreaks. If you have a question for a food poisoning lawyer and would like to discuss a potential case with an experienced lawyer, contact us today online or call at 1-888-335-4901.