One month it’s lettuce, the next month it’s sushi!
A recall on certain items sold at Trader Joe’s was prompted after an inspection at a Massachusetts food facility that produces Fuji Food Products. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that anyone who purchased spring rolls, sushi and salads of the Fuji brand at Trader Joe’s (and even a few Walgreens and 7-Eleven locations in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee) should avoid eating them due to the possibility of listeria contamination.
Listeria is a serious infection that can cause high fever, severe headache, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea after eating food that has been contaminated. To date, no illnesses have been reported. But to avoid being held liable in food poisoning lawsuits, Fuji Food Products, Inc. voluntarily recalled their products thought to be contaminated with this harmful bacterium.
But even though the product has been recalled, if one of the contaminated food products have already been purchased by a consumer and they get food poisoning, what are their legal options?
Tennessee product liability lawyers at Gilreath & Associates explain below.
Tennessee Food Safety Act
“To ensure that foods served for public consumption in Tennessee are safe as prepared, served and delivered,” the state government enacted the Tennessee Food Safety Act in 2015. This Act requires grocery stores and restaurants to follow certain guidelines in order to sell their products, from employee health practices to safety permits to food codes.
The preventative steps listed in the Act are also meant to contain any foodborne illnesses from breaking out, should they develop at a food processing plant or production facility, in order to protect public health.
If any of the requirements listed in the Food Safety Act are violated, in addition to the possibility of having their permit revoked, any individual with reasonable evidence has the right to seek out legal counsel for any personal injuries or illnesses endured because of that violation.
Safe Food Act
On October 18, 2019, House Representative Rosa DeLuaro of Connecticut introduced a bill in Congress known as the Safe Food Act, which says that any person who has suffered from food contamination may bring it before their local district court who can then award damages based on the findings of the case.
“Protecting our nation’s food supply from unsafe and contaminated food is an important, extensive, and at times complicated task,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “I believe it is a primary responsibility of this government. However, nearly a decade since we passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, our food supply is still plagued by large food outbreaks that cause foodborne illness. In the last year, we have seen numerous high-profile outbreaks and recalls, including contaminated romaine lettuce, large ground beef recalls, and the largest egg recall in nearly a decade.”
Tennessee statute of limitations for product liability lawsuits
If a Tennessee resident decides to seek justice after being contaminated by food poisoning, they have just 1 year from the date they consumed the product and fell ill to gather sufficient evidence and file a claim, according to the Tennessee statute of limitations.
In this particular case, even though no one appears to have suffered from any of Fuji’s products, if a buyer who consumed the contaminated food subsequently suffered from listeria, they would have the right to seek justice against the manufacturer. The key is to have sufficient evidence that they became ill because of Fuji’s product — namely by proving that they consumed the Fuji product and that they contracted listeria as a result.
Our team of experts has the experience and legal regiment to fight for your rights. If you or a loved one have suffered from severe food poisoning due to a health safety violation or defective product, the lawyers at Gilreath & Associates are ready to consult with you and discuss your options for moving forward to get the compensation you deserve.