Food Poisoning at Pennsylvania Farmers Markets

April 1st, 2019 by Wapner Newman

Food Poisoning at Pennsylvania Farmers Markets

Farmers markets offer food that is fresh and produced locally, but that food can give you a wicked case of food poisoning. In fact, a Penn State University study published Nov. 1 in Food Protection Trends evaluated how safely vendors handled food at more than 40 Pennsylvania farmers markets and found that many didn’t follow even basic sanitary practices to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.

How serious is food poisoning? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that every year in the U.S., there are …

  • 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses
  • 128,000 hospitalizations due to food poisoning
  • 3,000 foodborne illness-related deaths.

Many food poisoning cases result from negligent handling and preparation of food products, and anyone who has caused harm should be held accountable.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone’s negligence and improper food handling, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, loss of life’s pleasures, and pain and suffering. However, your case must be handled correctly or you may never receive the settlement you deserve.

The skilled and experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller are committed to giving your food poisoning case individual attention and getting the best settlement possible. Our lawyers can provide you with dependable guidance and strong legal strategies. We have helped hundreds of clients through the years secure the compensation they need to reclaim their future through our thorough and creative investigative legal solutions. We offer a free consultation to examine your situation and show you how we can help.

Don’t delay. Please contact Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers and find out whether you have a viable claim.

What the researchers found

Researchers from Penn State did a five-year study assessing food safety behaviors at Pennsylvania farmers markets using direct concealed observations, state sanitarian observations, and self-reported vendor surveys. They checked samples of produce and meat obtained from farmers markets in Pennsylvania for the presence of bacteria which indicate poor hygiene practices — coliforms, fecal coliforms, Listeria, and E. coli.

The results showed reason to be concerned: E. coli was present in 40 percent of beef samples; 18 percent of pork samples; 28 percent of kale samples; 29 percent of lettuce samples; and 17 percent of spinach samples. Listeria was found in 8 percent of beef samples; 2 percent of kale samples; 4 percent of lettuce samples; and 7 percent of spinach samples.

The researchers felt there was a discrepancy between the safety precautions vendors thought or claimed they were taking and what they were actually observed doing. One major problem was improper use of disposable gloves. Less than a quarter of the vendors even had them, and about half of those who used them did so improperly by not changing them when they were supposed to, including keeping the same gloves on after handling raw meat or money.

Symptoms of food poisoning

Sometimes it is difficult to know you have food poisoning because symptoms may not appear for hours or days after eating contaminated food.

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in your stool
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Fever and headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle aches

It is important to seek medical attention immediately due to risk of dehydration and to identify the organism that made you sick.

What can be done

The incidence of food poisoning can be decreased by taking certain precautions to shop safely at famers markets and handle food safely at home:

  • Observe vendors to make sure they use gloves whenever they handle food and change them when necessary.
  • Don’t buy raw milk and raw milk cheeses unless
  • Buy perishables that need to be kept cold at the end of your trip.
  • Make sure products such as meat or chicken have been kept refrigerated.
  • Bring your own cooler or insulated bag with ice to keep meat cool.
  • Practice food safety at home. Follow the four C’s—cleaning, cooking, preventing cross-contamination, and chilling. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water right before eating, cutting or cooking them.

What to do if you have food poisoning

If you think you have food poisoning, you should take steps to protect your health and legal rights:

  • Seek medical treatment, as food poisoning can become fatal if untreated and early diagnosis can help establish the source of the problem.
  • Keep evidence, including food you believe is contaminated and receipts from where you bought the food, medical bills and other illness-related expenses.
  • Write down everything you recall about where you bought the food, symptoms, how you were diagnosed and impacts of your illness for evidence should you file a lawsuit.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning in Pennsylvania, you may be able to seek damages from the party who was negligent and responsible. Time is of the essence, and it is essential to have a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side.

The seasoned and compassionate Pennsylvania food poisoning personal injury attorneys at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your situation and determine whether you do have a viable claim.  Our unique legal approach helps ensure that no stone is left unturned as we investigate and document every detail relating to your claim. We will do everything possible to get you the settlement you deserve.

Don’t delay.  Contact us online or call our offices today for your free consultation.