The move towards natural foods can be a healthy shift away from processed foods and the over-reliance on fast food that can lead to expanding waistlines and increased health risks. However, sometimes foods marketed as natural carry their own hidden dangers. As San Francisco products liability lawyers, the Brod Law Firm team urges the public to use caution when purchasing food for their family. Likewise, we urge residents harmed by dangerous food products to seek legal recourse and hold companies responsible for selling unsafe food in Northern California.
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, California has just lifted a ban that resulted from concerns about unsafe food products. The ban was issued after five children in our state became ill after drinking raw milk produced by Organic Pastures in Fresno. All of the children were found to have the same strain of E. Coli. Three of the young people were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a dangerous illness that can lead to kidney failure. Although investigators did not find the bacteria in samples of the milk, it was deemed the likely source since all five children had consumed the dairy’s raw milk in the period before they fell ill. The state shut down production at the dairy temporarily and recalled Organic Pastures products. At the time of the Chronicle’s report, the dairy had passed necessary inspections and was allowed to resume production of all products with the exception of raw colostrum. Investigators have continued to quarantine the final product out of concern that it may carry dangerous bacteria.
There is a lot of controversy over raw milk products. Proponents believe that raw milk contains more nutrients than the more common pasteurized variety and also that the pasteurization process kills “good” bacteria that can have health benefits including the potential prevention of asthma and other health woes. However, others warn that raw milk can contain harmful bacteria including E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. Worldwide, some countries have total bans on raw milk while others permit the drink, particularly when it is bought directly from the farm. In the United States, federal law prohibits the sale of raw milk across state lines. Other regulation varies by state with about half of states prohibiting its sale for human consumption. California does permit licensed facilities to sell unpasteurized milk. Two facilities appear to have obtained such licenses and additional sales occur directly at some farms.
We do not wish to take a stand on the raw milk debate. We do, however, urge residents to take care in making their informed choices when it comes to feeding their families. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 6 Americans will become ill from tainted foods each year. While not every food-related illness is cause for legal action, products liability laws can apply when tainted food causes serious illness. Food producers and sellers owe a duty of care to the public and consumers should hold them accountable when they fail to uphold this responsibility.
If you become seriously ill due to contaminated food, please contact the San Francisco tainted food attorney at the Brod Law Firm. You may be entitled to damages for your illness and bringing a lawsuit warns business owners that the sale of contaminated food in San Francisco and throughout Northern California will not be tolerated.