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IL injury lawyerSustenance 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.

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