Botulism is a serious illness that can lead to death if not properly treated. Even though the illness is rare, it is extremely dangerous and considered a significant public health emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Botulism occurs from Clostridium Botulinum bacteria harboring in dirt. It produces toxins that grow on food, which when ingested can cause serious injury including permanent paralysis or death. In fact, upwards of two out of every three individuals suffering from botulism that do not immediately take the botulism anti-toxin dies from the condition.
Botulism can be acquired from numerous foods that include:
- Foods canned at home containing low acid content
- Fermented or home-canned fish
- Potatoes baked in aluminum foil
- Commercial foods that are improperly canned
- Bottled garlic
- Cheese sauce
- Any food kept at a warm temperature for an extended time
The toxins produced by Clostridium Botulinum prevent the body’s neurotransmitters from properly functioning. The illness quickly inhibits motor control. As it progresses, the condition can paralyze the individual completely, usually beginning on the face and eyes and moving downward to the throat, torso and out to the extremities. When the torso is paralyzed, death can occur because the individual is unable to breathe without ventilated assistance.
Common Symptoms of Botulism
With effective medical treatment, the illness will last upwards of 10 days or more. A full recovery from the poisoning can take many months. However, some individuals that suffer from botulism never recover fully. Common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and fatigue
- Droopy eyelids
- Double vision
- Dry mouth, skin and throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Muscle weakness and slurred speech
- Body weakness and aching
Contaminated Food Contributing to Outbreaks of Botulism
Sadly, many individuals become ill through food poisoning from commercially processed foods, home canned goods and food served at restaurants. Food poisoning is usually the result of contaminated or carelessly prepared food. Foodborne illnesses are caused by a variety of pathogens including fungi, parasites, bacteria and viruses.
Statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate that nearly 50 million individuals suffered some type of food illness every year. In addition, there are upwards of 500 foodborne illness “outbreaks” investigated by state and local health departments each year.
Most cases involving foodborne illnesses are not a part of an epidemic, but sporadic where a single individual becomes sick by consuming some type of adulterated food. The most common types of food poisoning involve specific pathogenic bacteria including Listeria Monocytogenes, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli 0157: H7. The most common foods associated with food poisoning include:
- Leafy greens
- Raw eggs
- Undercooked meat
- Oysters and other shellfish
- Deli meats
- Deli salads
- Ice cream
- Peanut butter
- Raw milk
Botulism and Food Poisoning Liability: Tracing the Contamination to the Source
Many individuals sickened by foodborne illnesses will file a food poisoning lawsuit to hold restaurants, canners and food processors accountable for their negligence. Often times, botulism or other food contaminant makes its way into the product during the manufacturing process including when packaging, storing, distributing, and preparing the items for sale. This could include companies that negligently allow raw meat to become contaminated during the slaughtering, preparing, handling or packaging or displaying phases.
Additionally, farmers might be held liable when raw vegetables, fruits or other produce are contaminated while growing, or during harvest, transport, storing or packaging. Food and beverage companies along with bottlers can be held legally liable when the foods are improperly prepared, canned, bottle, sealed or made ready-to-eat. Distributors and trucking companies that fail to keep the food refrigerated can also be held liable. So too can grocery stores and other retailers that were negligent in timely removing contaminated goods from their shelves.
Hiring an Attorney to Represent You in a Botulism Food Poisoning Case
If you, or a loved one, have contracted a serious foodborne illness, it is essential to seek medical attention and contact a botulism food poisoning lawyer immediately. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have experience in handling botulism and foodborne illness personal injury lawsuits and claims. We have handled cases involving serious food poisoning with associated bodily injury and/or anaphylactic shock.
Call our attorneys at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a no obligation free of charge consultation. We handle all personal injury lawsuits and claims on contingency. Our legal team fights aggressively to ensure you receive the fair and just compensation you deserve for your injuries.