Feb 4

Grocery Store Food Contamination – Who’s At Fault and What Are Your Rights?

by Tate Law Offices, P.C.Food Poisoning, Products Liability

Grocery store

There are few things better than a delicious, home-cooked meal. In reality, however, the satisfaction of a homemade lunch or dinner can quickly disappear if you come down with a case of food poisoning directly thereafter.

Of course, a minor bug may leave your stomach upset for a few hours; but what happens if you are poisoned by E. coli, salmonella, or one of the many other serious, food-borne infections? If you need medical treatment or miss time from work due to illness, who can be held responsible?

Holding the Grocery Store Responsible

If you became ill after a meal cooked at home, you may be able to hold your grocery store liable for the illness that you suffered. In fact, this is exactly the action one Massachusetts couple took when their child passed away after succumbing to a powerful strain of E. coli found in contaminated ground beef; the couple is now suing Whole Foods, claiming that the grass-fed beef purchased at a certain location was responsible for their child’s death.

In the event your contaminated meal only led to stomach problems or other minor issues, however, you may still have the right to file suit against the grocery store under the theory of products liability, a field of law that governs faulty products. If you consider the food “faulty,” then in order to hold the grocery store liable for your illness you must show two things: that the food in this case was defective (contaminated in some way), and that this specific contamination was responsible for your damages – the direct cause for your illness. If you can prove these two factors, you may be eligible to recover compensation in a civil lawsuit.

Who Else Was Responsible for the Contaminated Food?

In some cases, the grocery store’s negligence alone may have led to the contamination; here, the store would be the only liable party. More often, however, there may be additional entities through the chain of distribution that were also liable for the infected food. For example, the grocery store may have purchased tainted beef from a farm that failed to adhere to certain safety regulations, or from a distribution plant that acted negligently as well. Under these circumstances, the injured party could label multiple defendants in a civil suit in order to recover the largest possible amount of compensation.

The Food Was Recalled – Do I Still Have a Case?

If a grocery store or other distributor learns that it has proffered contaminated food, it may choose to issue a recall on the product. Upon the initiation of a recall, all consumers who have purchased this product are asked to return it to the grocery store for a refund. This does not, however, shield the store from liability if a customer becomes ill; here the consumer still has the right to pursue a personal injury claim.

Contact Tate Law Offices, P.C.

Have you become ill from food you purchased from a grocery store? Or have you lost a loved one because of a tainted meal? Please don’t hesitate to contact Tate Law Offices, P.C., to learn how you can recover compensation by calling 888-565-7068 for a free initial consultation.