When people set foot in a restaurant, restaurant or fast food establishment, they have a reasonable expectation that the food served to be their own, properly prepared and free of any viruses or bacteria. When serving contaminated food a person, the results vary from mild illness and accidents and serious illness. Nevertheless, food poisoning is a serious issue and should be avoided at all costs.
Food poisoning occurs when infectious or toxic agents are introduced to the elements of the food consumed later by the people. Infectious agents often include viruses, parasites or bacteria, whereas the toxic agents are often poisons or danger which happens in the exotic or badly prepared food.
Common symptoms often include:
- Abdominal cramps.
Although the symptoms can be mild and often pass within 24 to 48 hours, it is important to contact a healthcare professional if symptoms do not persist or worsen over time. Mismanaged food can sometimes cause serious health problems that may require hospitalization.
Employees and restaurateurs should take precautions to protect their customers and guests at all times. Food preparation and cooking surfaces must be kept clean at all times and kitchens must be free of contaminants and hazardous materials. Restaurateurs should ensure that all employees have undergone preparation of adequate food and are aware of the appropriate methods of cooking for each menu item.
Restaurant employees are the first line of defense against foodborne illness and must ensure that all items served were properly managed from start to finish. If employees are careless with food or if they intentionally introduce harmful ingredients in food, the restaurant can be held liable for injuries to patrons.
It is important to note that not all cases warrant prosecution against the owners of the restaurant. Symptoms of food poisoning can be mild and may not last more than a day or two. For this reason, it may not pursue legal action that can end up costing more than the settlement could be worth.
If contaminated food caused serious injury to an individual, or if the food has been intentionally contaminated by employees of the institution, it may be worthwhile to pursue legal action for injuries and suffering.