If you have been a victim of food contaminated with the listeria bacteria, you will find it hard to find a lawyer who understands listeria. Lee Wallace knows what listeria is and why it is so deadly. The Wallace Law Firm has had a web page devoted to listeria lawsuits for nearly ten years.
You need a lawyer with the experience to handle your case, an attorney who won’t be intimidated by filing a case in your state. Lee Wallace has been practicing for more than 20 years, and has handled legal matters in approximately twenty states.
You need a lawyer who can take on the big food company that made your food in unsanitary conditions. In 2009, Lee Wallace was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia, and she has been voted a Georgia SuperLawyer every year since the poll began. She was first in her class at Vanderbilt University, and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.
In mid-2011, newspapers all over the country began reporting about a terrible and deadly listeria outbreak that stemmed from Jensen Farms cantaloupes. As of November 1, 2011, at least 20 people had died, and one woman had miscarried, because they ate Jensen Farms cantaloupes. The cantaloupes were contaminated with the listeria bacteria and many of the people who ate them contracted listeriosis, a dangerous and potentially fatal infection.
When food-processing companies or restaurants ignore sanitation procedures, their customers may wind up eating food contaminated with listeria. People who become ill from eating food that was negligently prepared may have a legal case for the damages they incur.
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Listeria is a bacteria found in soil and the environment. One species of listeria, Listeria monocytogenes, can cause serious bacterial infections called listeriosis. The first case of human listeriosis was detected in 1929.
HOW DOES LISTERIA SPREAD?
Listeria spreads through contaminated food. A few years ago, for example, an outbreak of listeriosis occurred when construction dust entered the air conditioning system at a meat packing plant. The dust contained listeria. The contaminated dust mixed with the water in the air conditioner unit, and then dripped from the air conditioner directly into uncovered vats of meat.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LISTERIOSIS?
Listeriosis usually begins with fever, muscle ache, and sometimes flu-like symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, and a persistent fever. For some people, these symptoms will be all they experience. For others, the disease progresses to far more serious symptoms, such as brain infections. According to CDC, “if infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.”
The disease may not turn serious until 1 to 6 weeks after a person is first infected.
HOW COMMON IS LISTERIOSIS?
CDC estimates that each year 2500 Americans are infected with listeriosis each year. The disease is deadly: of the 2500 infected, 500 will die.
WHAT FOODS MIGHT HARBOR LISTERIA?
According to “The Bad Bug Book,” which is put out by the Food & Drug Administration, CDC, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, and the National Institutes of Health, listeria is usually associated with “raw milk, supposedly pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft-ripened varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats (all types), and raw and smoked fish.” Listeria can multiply in refrigerated and even frozen foods.
WHAT GROUPS ARE AT HIGHEST RISK?
CDC explains that the groups at highest risk are:
- Pregnant women and their fetuses (due to the risk of stillbirths or miscarriages, such as happened in the Jensen Farms cantaloupes listeria outbreak)
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with cancer (particularly leukemia), diabetes, or kidney disease
- People with AIDS (CDC estimates they are 300 times more likely to get listeriosis)
- People taking gluticosteroids
- The elderly
The Bad Bug Book suggests that people taking antacids or cimetidine also may be at risk, and that even healthy people may be at risk, especially if the food item is very heavily contaminated with listeria.
LINKS TO HELP YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT LISTERIA
- The Bad Bug Book – A handbook on foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins published by the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, and the National Institutes of
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Department of Health, Victoria, Australia
- MedLine Plus, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- The Virtual Museum of Bacteria, from the Foundation of Bacteriology and the Society for Applied Microbiology