Sustenance is essential to our survival, and when we purchase food from a grocery store or a meal from a restaurant we want to believe it is safe to consume. A faulty good from a department store may cause external physical harm, but negligence in food production can lead to severe illness and death.
Liability when it comes to food safety can take many forms. If a company has poor safety practices, then contamination can affect customers. Bacteria, like salmonella, can make people sick when incorporated into the food supply, or a foreign object can make its way to the final product. Companies in the past have also been held liable for not listing a warning on their products.
One of the most famous cases of the latter is Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants from 1994. Stella Liebeck was served a hot cup of coffee in a McDonald’s Restaurant drive through that resulted in third-degree burns to her lower body. The temperature of the cup of coffee was up to 40 degrees higher than other restaurants that serve coffee, or the average temperature of a cup of coffee from an at home coffee maker. Because of the high temperature, 700 others were also burned by hot beverages at McDonald’s. Although the cup did warn that the contents are hot, there was no warning about third-degree burns. Liebeck was awarded $2.7 Million in punitive damages and $160,000 for medical expenses.
In 2008 and 2009, a salmonella outbreak at the Peanut Corporation of America left the company bankrupt and took the lives of nine people. Many others got sick, and this outbreak that affected the company’s peanut butter is considered the most catastrophic food contamination incidents in recent years. Because of the company’s distribution, other companies were affected by the contaminated peanuts leading to a recall of over 3,500 products. The processing plant of Peanut Corporation of America was described by employees as a food safety nightmare. Products were also shipped out before the proper tests could be conducted to ensure product safety.
Contact a Kane County Product Liability Lawyer
Food and restaurant companies are responsible for keeping us safe. When companies are negligent in food safety practices or placing adequate warnings on products, it is the consumers that suffer. If you believe you or a loved one has occurred medical costs or suffering due to a food product, contact an experienced Aurora product liability attorney today. Call our office at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.