Over 400 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported since late June. Here's what you need to know about this food poisoning story.
The Cyclospora Outbreak: Severity, Causes, and Consequences
A parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis is extremely rare in the United States though it has been known to cause severe nausea, fatigue, and "traveler's diarrhea" in people who travel abroad. However, as Business Insider explained yesterday, reports of the infection have been popping up in many states including Texas. At least 466 people have been infected this summer, and 27 have been hospitalized.
While these numbers seem low, they are actually quite alarming considering that the infection is usually much rarer in the U.S. and almost always contracted while traveling abroad. The FDA was able to link at least some of the Iowa and Nebraska cases to a tainted salad mix supplied by Taylor Farms to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in those states, but it remains unclear how closely connected the cases from other states may be.
A food safety advocate and foodborne illness attorney quoted in the Business Insider article noted that it is highly likely that the rare outbreak will be traced to a single product and/or manufacturer, yet it is worth noting that the supply chains of salad and other food items are very complex which make them difficult to reverse engineer. Nevertheless, an Orlando Sentinel article is reporting that an infected Texas woman decided to file suit against Darden Corporation which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and other restaurant chains.
Suzanne Matteis' Darden Food Poisoning Lawsuit
Let's have a quick look at how the Dallas woman's legal claim will have to work. Food poisoning lawsuits are basically defective product liability cases that allow consumers to hold manufacturers responsible for any injuries or deaths they suffer after using the manufacturers' product. Consumers can seek a recovery that covers medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
There are a number of legal theories that can come into play during a food poisoning lawsuit like negligence, breach of warranty, misrepresentation, and strict product liability- all of these are strong legal tools meant to protect the victims of product liability. Even so, Matteis' case may run into some serious trouble.
A food poisoning lawsuit must do three things: (1) the victim must prove that her food was contaminated, (2) the victim must prove that the foodborne contamination caused her illness, (3) and the victim must hold the right party accountable. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Matteis tested positive for the illness after suffering nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea just dayss after eating at a Texas Olive Garden.
However, she still has to prove beyond doubt that it was the Olive Garden meal that caused her illness - this will be difficult because Darden says its does not use Taylor Farms in its Texas restaurants. Even if health officials identify the tainted food source in Texas as they have done in Iowa and Nebraska, Matteis will probably have a pretty small recovery because she only suffered pretty mild medical issues.
Texas Food Poisoning and Product Liability Attorney
If you need help pursuing your own food poisoning lawsuit, or any other type of defective product case, consult with our highly experienced product liability attorneys to learn how we can help you win the compensation you may deserve. The Kyle Law Firm offers completely free, no-strings-attached consultations for all product liability cases and operates on a contingency fee basis - contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation today.