Are The Roasting Chestnuts Safe to Eat?

December 22, 2015   |   Jean Sutton Martin

As we prepare for the holidays, food is certain to be a central part of our family gatherings. We trust that the food we buy is safe and free of contamination, but that is not always the case. Every year, 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses. Of those affected, at least 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 will die. These numbers may understate the problem as many cases of foodborne illnesses go unreported.

These statistics are frightening, but what is scarier is that the numbers could be worse if not for trial lawyers. Our government regulators simply do not have the resources to force food corporations to take the necessary measures to protect our food supply. When these companies place profits before safety, the trial lawyers and our civil justice system are essential for the protection of consumers. Taking these food corporations to court has become an important deterrent against the bad acts and practices that create risk of contamination in our food supply.

News reports regarding food contamination are increasing. The recent outbreak of illnesses seemingly related to Chipotle restaurants have dominated the news of late. Most often the source or cause of food contamination is never identified, but we do know some reasons why the number is escalating. Aside from bad corporate practices, another reason for the increased risk of contamination is the advent of new farming strategies. The administration of pharmaceuticals to livestock has exploded. Not only does that use add risk, the waste from these farms filter into the groundwater and crops growing nearby. As such, contamination in leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach is now the second biggest cause of food-related hospitalizations and the fifth most frequent cause of deaths related to foodborne illnesses.

A contamination lawsuit against a food corporation is about much more than compensating the injured consumer. These lawsuits have the opportunity to effectuate change in corporate policy affecting food safety. When food producers and suppliers are held liable for the injuries caused by contamination in their products, these companies have greater incentive to value safety over profits. Sometimes it is these lawsuits that actually uncover the source of the contamination through the discovery conducted. Government regulators simply do not have the time, power or resources to conduct such thorough investigations as can be done through the civil court system. These lawsuits are vital for the protection of consumers.

Written by Jean Sutton Martin of the Law Office of Jean Sutton Martin PLLC.  Attorney Jean Sutton Martin provides focused, personalized legal solutions for people who have been harmed by pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices.