The last year has seen a tremendous amount of food recalls and food illness outbreaks in the news. Seemingly innocent foods, like cake batter and Romaine lettuce, were being recalled from stores across the nation. Many Americans felt like every time they opened the news, new food was threatening their health.
But foodborne illnesses are common; much more common than you think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of food products are recalled from the consumer level every year. The only reason it’s making headlines is the detection process is improving with faster technology to get the word out.
The outbreaks this year included Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. All three illnesses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, and fatigue. The most vulnerable people to experience these side effects of food poisoning are the elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems. Sometimes hospitalization is required, and in rare circumstances, death may occur.
Here is a recap of food recalls that made headlines this year.
Over the summer, Kellogg’s recalled its Honey Smacks cereal after 34 people were hospitalized from Salmonella. This recall was particularly newsworthy because the target age-range markets to is young children. By the time all was said and done, Honey Smacks was the culprit for sickening 135 people in 36 states across the country.
Duncan Hines cake batter was recalled this year due to a possible salmonella outbreak. Three people fell ill after consuming the product. The white cake mix was found to match stool samples from those who were infected with the illness. The company immediately pulled four varieties of its cake mix from the consumer market.
At the end of July, a string of illness emerged from Chipotle locations in and around Powell, Ohio. Over 700 people were infected with clostridium perfringens, a bacterial illness that manifests due to food being left at unsafe temperatures. A few years prior, the company had been publicly lambasted for improper handling techniques and underwent a nationwide store closure to address such problems with its employees.
As one of the most popular food items being served to preschool and elementary school-aged children, the whey powder used in the fish crackers was compromised. Pepperidge Farms recalled several different varieties of its crackers because the manufacturer detected Salmonella in its whey powder; one of the ingredients of its cheese seasoning. No illnesses were reported with this outbreak.
Poultry, Beef, and Pork
- Each facet of the meat industry experienced some sort of food poisoning outbreak this year. Just in time for Thanksgiving, a Salmonella outbreak with raw turkey startled many across the country. More than 160 people were sickened, and Jennie-O brand recalled nearly 50 tons of its raw turkey.
- An outbreak of E. coli prompted Cargill Meat Solutions in Colorado to recall nearly 100,000 pounds of its ground beef over the summer. There were 18 illnesses across four states, including one death and many hospitalizations.
- A few months later in October, JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalled over six million pounds of its beef products due to a strain of Salmonella Newport. Nearly 246 cases were reported in 26 states.
- And lastly, ham caused quite a stir when Johnson County ready-to-eat hams were recalled due to listeria. Four people were hospitalized and there was one death in Virginia. The outbreak triggered a domino recall affecting products that include the ham such as Callie’s Charleston Biscuits and Ladyfingers Country Ham Rolls.
Hummus lovers are familiar with tahini; it’s a condiment often used in giving it a rich, nutty taste. In late November, Achdut Ltd. placed an international recall on its tahini due to possible Salmonella contamination. Five people in the United States were affected by the product. It was sold under the brand names Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s.
- Similar to the pandemonium surrounding turkey, Romaine lettuce was recalled just days before Thanksgiving due to E. coli contamination. People in 11 states were sickened with the illness that broke out in late October. Canadian neighbors were also affected, with 18 illnesses reported in Quebec and Ontario. The produce section of grocery stores across the country stood vacant as bagged salad mixes were removed from their shelves.
- There was a similar contaminated lettuce outbreak earlier in the year that affected over 200 people. The outbreak in Yuma, Arizona was likely due to contamination in the water irrigation system.
- McDonald’s salads were affected over the summer as well when cyclospora caused sickness in over 150 people. Cyclospora is an intestinal parasite commonly found in contaminated food and water. McDonald’s removed its salad mixes from mostly midwestern states while it assessed the situation and found a new manufacturer to buy produce from.
Contact a Food Poisoning Lawyer
The lawyers at Johnson // Becker are currently investigating and handling food poisoning cases nationwide. If you or a loved one were sickened after eating any of the food products listed above, compensation for your injuries could be available. Contact us today for a free case review. We would be honored to speak with you and will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.