Food Recalls May Lead to Liability for Manufacturers
While automobile recalls make the top stories on a regular basis, they are not the only recalls that consumers should think about. Numerous food recalls are instituted on a regular basis for a variety of reasons. They are so common that many of them go unnoticed by consumers. As a result, consumers may consume these products and become severely ill. When these incidents occur, business related to the manufacturing and sale of the food may be held liable for the injuries of the victim. While some of these companies maintain adequate insurance to cover these financial responsibilities, others do not, under the belief that they are already covered. Securing compensation as a consumer may require a lawsuit in court, and an experienced lawyer is vital to this process.
The state of Florida maintains a list of recalled food items on the state website. Residents can search by food, specific brand name, date of recall or health risk. New recalls are added as the agency learns of them. Solely within the month of October 2014, the site listed nine recalled food products. While salmonella contamination was the most common risk among them, listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne illness, was also listed. More disturbingly, one recalled product lists botulism as the possible health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, botulism is a bacteria infection that can cause paralysis and even death.
The Food Recall Process
There are several ways that a food can make it to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall list.
- A food producer may use its internal processes to test the food and determine if problems exist. From there, they may alert the FDA or Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of any discovered issues.
- An FDA or FSIS agency inspector may test the product and find problems on their own. These issues are communicated to the company for the creation of an action plan.
- State and local officials may also conduct testing that reveals food-borne They may then alert the FDA or FSIS.
Once the agencies are notified, they make a determination about the level of risk to the public. According to a report by CNN, the most common action is to institute a correction plan with the company. If the threat is at an increased level, the manufacturer may be shut down and a public alert issued.
The FDA uses three levels of food recalls:
- Class I Recall – determination of reasonable probability that use or exposure to the food product will cause serious injury or death
- Class II Recall – use or exposure to the food product may cause some injury, but the probability of severe health consequences is low.
- Class III Recall – use or exposure to the food product in unlikely to cause injuries to health
Do You Need the Services of an Experienced Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a food recall, contact the Miami legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.