TEXAS. According to the New York Times, 128,000 people end up in the hospital each year due to foodborne illness. 3,000 others die from contracting infections and illness from their food. Since the government shutdown began, those risks might be far higher.
According to Time Magazine, during the government shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety and inspection efforts have been halted, meaning that Americans might be at a higher risk of contracting salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus. Because of the shutdown, 41% of the FDA is off the job, meaning that inspections may not be taking place. While the highest risk food production facilities are currently being inspected, many other facilities are not. Producers with problems in the past continue to be watched, and foreign food producers remain subject to oversight. Domestic meat and poultry inspections are still taking place, though workers are doing the job without pay. This still mean that seafood inspections, cheese, fruit, vegetables, eggs, and even infant formula may not be getting inspected.
Unfortunately, until the government reopens, many food recalls must occur when the producers themselves issue them. This means that people might first need to get sick before companies are made aware of an issue. If you believe you have become sick due to contaminated food, consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer like the Cooper Law Firm in Texas. Our firm can review the circumstances of your illness and we may be able to help you make a claim if a foodborne illness resulting from the negligence of a food producer or handler led to your hospitalization or need for medical care. We may additionally be able to seek damages for your lost wages due to missed days from work as well as for your pain and suffering. Food producers have a responsibility to take precautions and warn consumers about known risks, whether or not the FDA is performing routine inspections. When producers fail to warn consumers of known risks, they can be held financially responsible for injuries that occur.
What can you do during the government shutdown to decrease your risk of getting sick? The biggest risk of foodborne illness comes from eating raw or undercooked meat, seafood, or produce. During the government shutdown, individuals may want to limit their intake, and at risk consumers may especially want to watch their diets. Safety experts are also concerned about the risk that consumers might eat clams, oysters, or bivalves harvested from contaminated water.
The Cooper Law Firm is closely watching how the government shutdown has been impacting public health and safety. If you have been hurt due to the negligence or neglect of a company, food producer, or food handler, consider reaching out to the personal injury attorneys at the Cooper Law Firm today to learn more. We may be able to help you seek damages for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical costs.
Cooper Law Firm
501 N Third St,
Longview, TX 75601
Telephone: (903) 297-0037