What If I Contracted E. Coli From Romaine Lettuce?
The national E. coli outbreak, spread through tainted romaine lettuce, has affected 172 people as of the latest update (May 16) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So far, 75 people have gone to the hospital, 20 developed kidney failure, and one person has died from the outbreak. If you’re one of the individuals who contracted E. coli from the tainted romaine lettuce, here’s what to know about your rights and legal options.
Facts About the 2018 E. Coli Outbreak
The CDC initially made an announcement regarding the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak on April 10, 2018. The CDC announced that it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service were investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections across multiple states. The CDC used its national database of DNA fingerprints from E. coli bacteria to identify the outbreak and trace it back to its source: chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region.
The tainted lettuce contained E. coli O157:H7, which made consumers sick upon consumption. This particularly bad strain can make sufferers very sick by producing the Shiga toxin. It is currently the leading cause of child acute kidney failure. E. coli O157:H7 can cause serious symptoms including bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever, confusion, and seizures. This particular outbreak affected so many people because Yuma is responsible for producing about 90% of all leafy vegetables in the United States between November and March every year.
The CDC has yet to pinpoint a particular brand or grower responsible for the contamination, but preliminary investigations point to the probability that the issue lies in tainted fertilizer or the water source in a large supply chain – not just one worker with dirty hands. Although enough time has passed so that most lettuce from Yuma has expired, consumers should still avoid lettuce from the region until the CDC announces that it’s safe. Victims who contracted E. coli from consuming contaminated chopped romaine lettuce need to contact attorneys about potential product liability lawsuits.
Filing a Product Liability Claim for Contaminated Produce
Food and drink growers, producers, and manufacturers owe the highest standards of care to consumers. They must obey strict standards of care in everything they do during every phase of production. Hundreds of federal and state laws apply to the cultivation of produce for mass consumption to regulate the industry and prevent serious issues. Unfortunately, mistakes and acts of negligence can still put the masses at risk. Such is the case with the tainted romaine lettuce.
As consumers, those with E. coli from the lettuce have the right to file civil claims against the responsible party or parties. Ill individuals will likely join a class action against the defendant(s) as soon as investigations uncover exactly who is at fault for the incident. Class actions are common in lawsuits concerning mass-produced food or other consumer items. Class actions involve one plaintiff who represents a larger group of people who are suffering similar harms from the same defendant. They make the legal process faster and more efficient for injured parties.
Get an attorney’s assistance if you or someone you love has contracted E. coli from Yuma lettuce. It’s necessary to have legal representation to join a class action in Arizona. You may be eligible for a portion of a settlement against the at-fault grower or other party to cover your medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, and emotional suffering. Having a conversation with a products liability attorney can help you understand your rights and take legal action in pursuit of financial recovery.
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