Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic) shock is a serious concern for many children and adults who react to major food allergens. The severe allergic reaction can cause death if not immediately treated. A food allergy reaction can occur when consuming meals at restaurants or eating food that has been improperly labeled. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) claims that approximately one out of 50 adults and one on of 20 children suffer from serious food allergies in the United States. In addition, there are nearly 30,000 visits to the emergency room and 150 deaths associated with food allergies every year.
A food allergy often occurs in a body’s immune system is compromised, where the consumption of food causes tissue to release leukotrienes, histamines and other mediators. Once the substance is released, the mediator can produce muscle contractions, causing severe and sudden symptoms. Some of the symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing and breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, throat and eyelids
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchiness, hives and skin redness
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness and fainting
- Diminished blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
Often, the most serious life-threatening complication involves respiratory arrest where the victim stops breathing due to cardiac arrest or airway blockage.
Proper Food Labeling Essential to Reducing Allergies Related to Specific Foods
No treatment is available to cure known food allergies. As a result, avoiding consumption of food allergens is the only appropriate action to protect the consumer from a potentially life-threatening reaction. However, avoiding food allergens can be challenging, when food manufacturers cross contact food particles between different products during the manufacturing process. Other times, medical personnel will fail to fully inform allergic individuals the seriousness of their condition and neglect to prescribe an epinephrine (epi) pen if the patient has a reaction.
The FALCPA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) of 2004 mandates that all food manufacturers, suppliers and distributors properly label any ingredient considered a “major food allergen” on every food or beverage product offered for consumer consumption. FALCPA list specific food groups as known major food allergens. These include:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Seafood including crustacean shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, etc.) and fish
- Tree nuts including pecans, walnuts, almonds and others
Manufacturer's Duty to Protect Consumers from Food Allergies
Food manufacturers, grocery distributors, restaurants, school cafeterias, hospitals, nursing homes, cruise ships and other organizations have a legal duty to protect the consumers they feed. When an individual suffers injuries caused by food allergies that stem from negligent food labeling, preparation or serving, all responsible parties can be held legally accountable for their carelessness. However, it is also the duty of the individual to inform all food servers of their condition and check labels to ensure the food contains no allergen ingredients.
A common mistake that can occur at a restaurant is wait staff serving the wrong food to a patron, or neglecting to inform the patron of specific items on the menu that contain food allergens. Other errors include mislabeling food products or neglecting to list obvious food allergens known to cause anaphylactic shock.
Legal Remedies Available Following a Serious Allergic Reaction to Foods or Beverages
Every individual that is harmed through the neglectful actions of another has the legal right to seek financial compensation for their losses and monetary damages. Recompense is often available to cover hospital expenses, medical bills, time away from work, court fees, pain and suffering. However, proving negligence can be challenging, and often requires the skills of a competent personal injury attorney who specializes in food allergy injury claims.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can inform you of every legal option available to seek financial recompense from any injury you have endured as a result of negligent food allergen exposure. In addition, surviving family members are likely able to recover funds in a wrongful death claim if a loved one has died from allergen-related anaphylactic shock caused by the negligence of others.
Our skilled litigation attorneys have represented many consumers and surviving family members seeking justice. We fight aggressively to hold product manufacturers, restaurant owners, hospitals and others responsible for any negligent action that harms consumers. Call our law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a no obligation, free initial consultation to discuss your claim. We accept food allergy injury cases on contingency to avoid the need of paying any upfront fees.
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