Articles Posted in Food Poisoning

No one wants to receive a “Dear John” letter, but on October 22, 2013, thousands of animal doctors across the country received a “Dear Veterinarian” letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It asked the practitioners to help them solve the mystery of pet poisoning by jerky treats.

Keeping Our Pets Safe

For years, the FDA has received reports that some pets became ill after consuming jerky treats, and they have conducted laboratory investigations, without success, to determine the cause. The agency has already tested 1,200 samples without discovering the exact cause of any illnesses. And the number of reported illnesses is growing. As of September 24, 2013, the FDA had been advised of 3,600 dogs and 10 cats who were sickened, apparently by the treats; 580 of these pets died.

A New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing study found low levels of antibiotic residues in some jerky pet treats, and several well-known brands were subsequently removed from the market in January 2013. The FDA is doing its own evaluation to determine the possibility that low levels of antibiotics can cause illness in dogs when fed over a length of time. But this is just one potential cause they are investigating.

The treats in question are jerky tenders or strips, made of chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruit, or combinations thereof. Signs of illness may occur within hours or days and may include decreased appetite, sluggishness, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination. Some cases have advanced to pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney failure or the resemblance of a rare kidney-related illness called Fanconi syndrome.

The Dear Veterinarian letter asks animal doctors to advise their pet owners about the potential for illness and to report any suspected cases to the FDA and Vet-LIRN. Vet-LIRN is a network of government agencies, professional experts and diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. and Canada, working together to solve the problem. In an FDA Consumer Update, Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said, “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered. Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”

The FDA website includes information on how to report a complaint about a pet food. You can find it here:

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm

Defective products abound. Some are found in medical supply houses; some are driving down the road; and some are on our grocery store shelves. At the Louthian Law Firm, we have been helping hurting people for more than 80 years. And as every pet owner knows, when a furry member of the family gets sick or dies, the humans are heartsick, too.

In early February, Harold Food Co. of North Carolina recalled 1,200 pounds of chicken salad due to fears of Listeria contamination. The recall heavily affected South Carolina stores, with potentially contaminated products pulled from shelves in Allendale, Beaufort, Bishopville, Brunson, Charleston, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Columbia and Conway.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the contamination, which came from hard-boiled eggs, could still make its way to consumers. It has issued warnings in more than 34 states, including South Carolina.

The batches of eggs may have been exposed to bacteria because of repairs that took place in the packaging area of a Michael Foods factory in Nebraska, according to that company’s statement. The initial recalls happened in late January, when officials thought the impact of the exposure was much smaller. The recalls quickly expanded as officials traced the path of eggs throughout the country.

Officials discovered that the eggs had been distributed and then sold under multiple brand names, such as: Columbia Valley Farms, GFS, Glenview Farms, Papetti’s, Silverbrook and Wholesome Farms. The various brands of eggs were then sold and used to prepare food products like chicken salad, rather than going directly to consumers. Additionally, the companies that purchased the eggs then sold the potentially affected food products under several brand names.

The eggs were exposed to a type of bacteria called Listeria, which can result in an illness called listeriosis. Though listeriosis outbreaks are still more uncommon than other food sicknesses, it is also one of the most serious. Listeriosis is fatal in about 20 percent of cases.

According to doctors, the illness is most serious in the elderly, pregnant women, people taking medications that suppress the immune system (such as some medicines prescribed for arthritis and asthma), and people with diseases that affect the immune system itself (such as diabetes and HIV). Symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, and may include headaches, confusion, neck stiffness, loss of balance and even convulsions. Symptoms can take anywhere from three days to two months to appear.

Officials are worried that even with contaminated products pulled from stores, many may still be in refrigerators across the country. Some of the products won’t reach their final expiration date until mid-March. The FDA is urging consumers to take precautions like checking labels, expiration dates and lot or batch numbers for any food products containing hard-boiled eggs.

Consumers should also stay informed about current food recalls by accessing the FDA’s website.

South Carolina Unsafe Product Attorneys
If you or someone you care about has been injured by a defective or unsafe product, you have the right to ask the producer for money to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering and any permanent disability or loss.

In order to protect that right, you should speak with the product injuries attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible. For a free consultation, call us today at (866) 454-1200 or (803) 454-1200, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form.

A random test found salmonella in bagged salads sold in South Carolina. The company responsible, Taylor Farms Retail, Inc, is recalling 3,265 affected bags marketed under the brands Fresh Selections, HEB, Marketside, and Taylor Farms.

If you have a bagged salad under any of those brands with a sell-by date of Oct. 18 to 21, throw it away or return it to your supermarket.

The salmonella was found by Washington State’s Department of Agriculture. Washington conducts tests on produce and other products sold in within its state no matter the origin. In this case, Taylor Farms Retail is based out of California and has also sold salad products in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Puerto Rico.

Salmonella poisoning can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within one to three days of infection. Salmonella can be destroyed by freezing, ultraviolet radiation and heat of 140*F for half an hour. None of these steps are typically taken with salads, making them especially prone to causing infections in humans.

Salmonella is usually found in polluted water, especially water that contains animal excrement from farm animals, birds or reptiles. In the past, watering plants destined for bagged salads with contaminated water has resulted in infections and large recalls. Salmonella can also be transmitted by humans with unwashed hands.

In the US, about 40,000 people annually report salmonella infections, but infection rates are thought to be as much as 30 times greater. The infection is not considered dangerous except for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Between 1990 and 2006, a six-year span, there were 1,316 Salmonella-related deaths.

For more information about the bagged salad recall, call 1-877-323-7374.

About The Louthian Law Firm
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, S.C., is a South Carolina personal injury law firm that has been obtaining fair compensation for defective product victims since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 50 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. The Louthian Law Firm represents truck accident victims and their families throughout South Carolina in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, including those in the communities of Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Greenville, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill.

For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at (866) 410-5656 or through its online form.

R.L. Zeigler Co., Inc in Selma, Alabama has issued a recall on approximately 28,610 pounds of hot dog products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis which can be fatal for people with weak immune systems, infants, and the elderly. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness, severe headache, nausea, confusion, and convulsions. The products related in the Zeigler recall are as follows:
* “ZEIGLER WIENERS MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK, ARTIFICIALLY COLORED”: 12-ounce packages, with each package bearing the use-by date of “Nov. 26, 2008 and establishment number “P-9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “VACUUM PACKED PAR-TI PUPS”: 12-ounce packages, with each package bearing the use-by date of “Nov. 26, 2008 and establishment number “P-9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “ZEIGLER Original Recipe WIENERS, artificially colored”: 12-ounce packages, with each package bearing the use-by date of “Nov. 26, 2008 and establishment number “EST. 9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “Zeigler Jumbo Franks”: 16-ounce packages, with each package bearing the use-by date of “Nov. 21, 2008 and establishment number “P-9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “Zeigler Hot Dogs”: 12-ounce packages, with each package bearing the use-by date of “Nov. 26, 2008 and establishment number “P-9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “SKINLESS WIENERS, 8 WIENERS PER LB”: 10-pound bulk boxes, with each box bearing package code “PK 092208A” and establishment number “EST. 9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “SKINLESS WIENERS, ARTIFICIALLY COLORED, 10 WIENERS PER LB”: 10-pound bulk boxes, each box bearing package code “PK 092208A” and establishment number “EST. 9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “SKINLESS WIENERS, 10 WIENERS PER LB”: 10-pound bulk boxes, each bearing package code “PK 092208A” and establishment number “EST. 9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

* “SKINLESS WIENERS, 12 WIENERS PER LB”: 10-pound bulk boxes, each bearing package code “PK 092208A” and establishment number “EST. 9156S” within the USDA mark of inspection.

The hot dog products were produced on September 22 and sent to food service institutions and retail establishments in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is 1-888-674-6854.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured or killed by someone else’s careless attitude toward food safety, you have the right to hold the careless party responsible in court. With almost 50 years of experience, the Louthian Law Firm can help you evaluate your case and file a lawsuit if the facts warrant one. To preserve your right to a day in court, contact one of our experienced South Carolina foodborne illness attorneys as soon as possible, at 1-866-410-5656, for a free case evaluation.

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Responding to concerns that food labels aren’t doing enough to alert consumers to the presence of allergens, or that the labels are just plain confusing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hosted a public hearing Sept. 16 on what it can do to improve things.

The hearings are part of a “long-term strategy” on the part of the FDA to help manufacturers upgrade their labeling practices, making them both clear and truthful.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured or killed by someone else’s careless attitude toward food safety, you have the right to hold the careless party responsible in court. With almost 50 years of experience, the Louthian Law Firm can help you evaluate your case and file a lawsuit if the facts warrant one. To preserve your right to a day in court, contact one of our experienced South Carolina foodborne illness attorneys as soon as possible, at 1-866-410-5656, for a free case evaluation.

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The latest in the litany of voluntary food recalls was announced on Saturday, November 3rd, when General Mills recalled nearly 5 million pizzas after an investigation by federal and state regulators found that the pepperoni topping likely caused several E.Coli related illnesses.

Totino’s and Jeno’s brand pizzas sold between mid-July and mid-October were found to cause illness in 21 people in 10 states. At least eight people were hospitalized with the foodborne illness, E.Coli, which can cause bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps lasting a few days on average. Four of the victims have developed kidney failure, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention statement.

“Eating a Totino’s or Jeno’s brand pizza containing pepperoni was significantly associated with illness.” According to the CDC statement.

General Mills has contended that the recall is little more then a precaution. Sighting that of the 21 cases of illness, only nine people reported having eaten Totino’s or Jeno’s pizzas prior to becoming ill.

“This is a decision of considerable consequence made in the interest of public safety.” General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe said.

Restaurants, grocery stores, farmers and food manufacturers all have a legal duty to make sure their products are safe to eat. When they fail in that duty, innocent people are sickened through no fault of their own. Items like frozen pizzas are a mainstay in family freezers across the country and a favorite among children and teenagers. The Golden Valley, Minnesota company which manufactured the pizzas has sold about 120 million frozen pizzas nationwide since July 1st. Of that number, about 60 percent included pepperoni.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured or killed by someone else’s careless attitude toward food safety, you have the right to hold the careless party responsible in court. With almost 50 years of experience, the Louthian Law Firm can help you evaluate your case and file a lawsuit if the facts warrant one. To preserve your right to a day in court, contact one of our experienced South Carolina foodborne illness attorneys as soon as possible, at 1-866-410-5656, for a free case evaluation.

7.5 ounce packages of Kroger Smoked Salmon Dip were recalled recently after Georgia inspectors found deadly bacteria in the product’s packaging, according to an Associated Press report.

The product recall affected the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. The package markings read: “Use By 04 Nov. 2007A LN3″. Kroger officials have asked people to look at the code date on any packages they bought and if it matches the code date above, they should bring it back to their Kroger store for a full refund.

South Carolina Food recalls can be some of the scariest and most wide ranging of product recalls. In this instance, the packaging for the salmon dip contained the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause the disease listeriosis. Listeriosis has been known to cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth in pregnant women. The company that packaged the product is called House of Thaller Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn. Ironically, Tennessee was not one of the main areas that the recall affected.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured or killed by someone else’s careless attitude toward food safety, you have the right to hold the careless party responsible in court. With almost 50 years of experience, the Louthian Law Firm can help you evaluate your case and protect your interests. To preserve your right to a day in court, contact one of our experienced South Carolina food recall attorneys as soon as possible, at 1-866-410-5656, for a free case evaluation.

Barely days after New Jersey-based Topps Meat Company recalled 21.7 million pounds of E. Coli-contaminated ground beef, Cargill Inc. is doing the same, recalling 840,000 pounds of ground beef patties distributed at Sam’s Club stores across the country, which they say are contaminated with E. Coli bacteria. According to an article posted in The State , the recall came after four Minnesota children were sickened by the bacteria after consuming the tainted products.

Two of the children who became ill as a result of the contaminated beef had to be hospitalized, and one still remains in the hospital, according to the news report. All the children became ill between Sept. 10 and Sept. 20, the article stated. The recalled packages were reportedly manufactured on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 and bear the number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA inspection mark. Also, a majority of the contaminated products were the American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.

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Fifty-two students and six employees at The Midlands Math and Business Academy either did not come to school or left early due to illness on Thursday according to an Associated Press report published Friday, September 28th. The students and employees reported suffering from diarrhea, cramping and vomiting.

As of Friday, 25 of the Richland County Charter School students were still absent. The fourth through eighth grade school has no cafeteria but students do eat delivered meals in their classrooms. None of the other schools served by that kitchen are reporting mass absences.

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A massive, nationwide beef recall has driven New Jersey-based Topps Meat Co. out of business, but government scientists are still scratching their heads when it comes to pinpointing the source of the E. Coli bacteria that contaminated the company’s ground beef, which reportedly made 32 people ill.

According to an article in The State , even after the company shut down putting 87 people out of their jobs, the investigation goes on. The only information we know is the U.S. Agriculture Department’s finding that Topps’ plant in Elizabeth, N.J., lacked adequate food safety measures to prevent the E. Coli contamination.

What has turned out to be the second largest beef recall in this country’s history – a whopping 21.7 million pounds of ground beef — has also led to criticism of the U.S. Agriculture department who many believe should have hastened the recall. USDA officials are now saying that they will speed up such recalls and warnings in the future, which is of course too late for the 32 people across eight states who were sickened by the contaminated beef. No deaths have been reported so far.

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