When people hear about the seemingly-endless food recalls due to possible contamination by bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria, it may feel like nothing is completely safe to eat anymore. No food can be guaranteed to be free from contamination. However, some foods are more likely to lead to foodborne illnesses and cause food poisoning than others.
Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, let's talk about poultry first. "Poultry" refers to turkeys, chickens, ducks and other fowl. It's more important for poultry to be cooked properly than other types of meat. Poultry is particularly susceptible to contamination by salmonella. Other types of meat, including beef and pork, however, can also cause organisms and parasites that cause illness if not cooked properly.
Dairy and eggs can also contain dangerous organisms. Pasteurized milk is safer than raw milk. Eggs purchased from the grocery store need to be refrigerated and cooked properly. So should any dishes such as quiches and casseroles that contain eggs.
Most fish needs to be cooked. Only fish labeled as "sushi grade" is safe to eat raw because it's handled in a manner that causes it to contain less bacteria.
Some fish, including tuna, has been found to contain dangerously-high levels of mercury. Pregnant women are warned not to eat it because of the harm that it can do babies in utero.
If you or a loved one suffers an illness that you believe is related to something you ate, it may be difficult to determine the cause of the illness. Further, if it's found that it was caused by a food product, you will likely need to show that you properly prepared it, such as cooking it at the designated temperature, and therefore, the contamination occurred somewhere in the supply chain between the farm or sea and the store shelves.
However, lawsuits for contaminated foods have been filed and won, often when it's been shown that people who ate a particular food or at a specific restaurant were sickened within a relatively short timeframe. A Miami personal injury lawyer experienced in handling product liability suits can advise you on your options and how to proceed.
Source: FindLaw, "Foods Most Associated with Food Poisoning," accessed Nov. 11, 2015