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Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers

When you think about food poisoning cases, many assume they occur from negligent restaurant workers who fail to practice safe food handling. While restaurants and their staff are known to be one source of food poisoning, everyday grocery items have also been known to contain harmful germs that cause foodborne illness.

Here are five grocery items that may result in food poisoning.

1. Meat & Poultry

It may be common knowledge that consuming undercooked or raw meat products dramatically increases the risk of food poisoning. So much so that restaurants typically include a disclaimer at the bottom of their menus. Meats like beef contain germs like Salmonella, E. coli, and Yersinia.

Additionally, poultry items like chicken and turkey may contain Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Clostridium perfringens — a bacteria responsible for approximately one million food poisoning cases in the United States. Since food poisoning is likely with undercooked meat, consider purchasing a thermometer to ensure your food is at the right temperature. The proper internal temperature for beef is 145 °F and 165 °F for poultry.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a staple in many homes, yet they have a long history of foodborne illness due to Salmonella contamination. Since chickens are susceptible to carrying Salmonella, their fecal matter can transfer the germ to their laid eggs. Although this occurs far less than it used to, consuming raw or undercooked eggs puts you at high risk for food poisoning — so think twice before you consider chugging a glass before your morning run.

3. Produce

Although fruits and vegetables are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle, they are still susceptible to contamination if they aren’t washed properly. Several germs, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, may contaminate your fruits and veggies.

To ensure your food is safe, scrub your produce thoroughly and remove any bruised or questionable parts. Although you discard the skin of fruits like bananas, avocados, and mangos, you should still wash them because germs can penetrate the skin and contaminate the fruit.

4. Rice

You may not consider rice to be a culprit of food poisoning. However, this grain might contain a harmful germ called Bacillus cereus — spores that contaminate the rice when it’s dry and survive the cooking process. Once the rice is cooked, these spores thrive in the moist environment.

If your rice is not contaminated with these spores, properly store it to avoid bacterial growth. When your rice’s temperature drops into the danger zone (between 40-140 °F), bacteria multiply and contaminate your food. Be sure to store your rice as soon as you can after cooking.

5. Raw Milk Products

Most milk is safe to drink thanks to pasteurization, which heats raw milk to the point where all the germs die. However, unpasteurized milk still contains harmful — sometimes deadly — germs, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Brucella. Although these germs could put you at risk of food poisoning, Listeria is one you should be especially wary of.

This germ could cause significant harm to pregnant women and has been known to result in miscarriages. Be cautious when consuming raw dairy products, such as brie and feta cheese, yogurt, or raw milk.

Why Grocery Stores Can Be Liable for Food Poisoning

Food could be contaminated in a grocery store at any point. The contamination may occur when staff members stock the items. The food may have been contaminated before it made it to the store. Grocery store staff must ensure that all food items are not tampered with or damaged in any way.

Meat with damaged packaging could increase the risk of harmful germ contamination. Additionally, grocery stores may neglect an item’s expiration date and leave it on the shelf for extended periods, putting shoppers at further risk of foodborne illness. If your food poisoning case is traced back to the grocery store, they could be liable for your damages.

Recover the Compensation You Need – Call Today

The food you buy for your family should be safe and free from harmful germs and bacteria. Tampered items and poor food handling practices could put you at risk for food poisoning. If you recently suffered food poisoning after a trip to the grocery store, you could have a case for compensation. Contact OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers today at 888-828-7087 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll gather evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks

$275,000

A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant

$525,000

A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia

$700,000

A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash