Foodborne illness has a variety of causes, and the food service industry may rely on food safety expert witnesses for reliable opinions following a foodborne illness-related lawsuit or when consulting for detailed expert reports.
Foodborne illnesses can be devastating, especially when a large number of victims are affected by a restaurant or manufacturing company. It’s important to have experts on hand to trace the cause of the disaster and ensure that no one else is affected.
What is a Foodborne Illness?
Foodborne illness remains a global threat and results from consuming contaminated foods or beverages containing viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Some of these conditions can cause minor symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, but others can be deadly, especially to vulnerable populations such as children.
What Are the Causes of Foodborne Illnesses?
Salmonella: Most foodborne diseases in the United States can be traced to this bacteria. It is present in the environment of most animals and may be transferred to humans through contact. It can be found in chicken, pork, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and even processed food.
Norovirus: Especially for restaurants, this is the most common foodborne illness which results from improper food handling. The disease is very infectious and usually manifests in 24 to 48 hours with signs of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
E-coli: It is also known as ‘traveler’s diarrhea.’ It is caused by taking contaminated food or water with infected feces. In the worst-case scenario, it results in kidney failure.
Hepatitis A: The source of the infection is contaminated raw shellfish or an infected food handler. It may cause jaundice and liver failure.
Symptoms of foodborne illness
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea, which may have traces of blood.
What Does a Food Safety Expert Witness Do?
In cases where a company has contaminated a product and caused illness, a food safety expert witness may be called in to testify during a resulting court case. These experts are versed in aspects of the food service industry, chemistry, microbiology, and a wide range of other subjects.
Expert witnesses are usually called upon to establish the cause of foodborne illness, whether it’s due to bacteria exposure, faults in the processing stages, or even a violation of any Food and Drug Administration codes and regulations. When the infection turns into an outbreak, you may be looking at significant financial losses that may get you out of business. A reliable expert witness can ensure that these cases are settled justly.