Food Poisoning and the Meat Industry

Most people are unaware of the unsanitary conditions that cause  food  contamination and subsequent  poisoning . Regardless of what you’re eating, cooking it yourself is the safest way to ensure that it was prepared properly and free of bacteria that can cause harm. Meat poses the highest risk of contamination, however, and should be prepared with extra caution.

The meat industry in America is constantly struggling to prevent the distribution of contaminated meat. Large animal factories cut expenses by raising the cows in extremely unsanitary environments. Small, crowded pins enable the rapid spread of disease, such as mad cow disease, and high volume slaughterhouses create the potential for meat to become contaminated with E. coli, a harmful bacterium found in cow intestines and feces.

Recalls

Because meat processing facilities are not required to check for the presence of E. coli in their product before it is shipped off, people must ingest contaminated meat and suffer from  food   poisoning  before a bad batch is recalled.

o In 2007, nearly 30 million pounds of beef was recalled for possible E. coli contamination. This number increased in 2008, when it reached an all time high of 143 million pounds.

o Recalls are typically issued after the majority of contaminated meat has already been consumed

Sickness

When contaminated meat enters the market, consumers can suffer serious illness. According to statistics gathered by federal health authorities, food borne diseases sicken approximately 76 million people, cause 325,000 hospitalizations, and kill 5,000 Americans every year.

Symptoms

The symptoms of  food   poisoning  vary in severity from person to person; however, the most common symptoms include:

o Severe abdominal cramps

o Watery or bloody stool

o Fever

o Nausea

o Vomiting

Symptoms of  food   poisoning  may occur between 6 and 24 hours following ingestion, and may persist for 1-14 days, depending on the level of contamination and the strain of bacteria present in the  food . Additionally, young children and the elderly are more susceptible to  food   poisoning  due to their weakened immune systems.

Treatment

Treatment for  food   poisoning  varies depending on the severity of symptoms. The most common problem associated with  food   poisoning  is dehydration. If symptoms worsen, the individual may have developed an infection for which they need to be hospitalized for observation and treatment. If left untreated, an infection can be lethal.

Victims of  food   poisoning  have the right to sue for compensation for their losses. For more information on  food   poisoning  and product liability, contact the Law Offices of Vic Feazell P.C.