Can I Sue For Getting Sick After Eating Food That Was Later Recalled?

This Thanksgiving, most of our country was put on edge after a series of popular foods was recalled for making a multitude of consumers fall ill after being consumed. Within a three week span leading up to this year’s festivities, the FDA announced Duncan Hines cake mix was recalled due to a salmonella outbreak, the USDA announced a recall of over 147,000 lbs of turkey due to, again, a salmonella outbreak and the CDC announced a food safety alert declaring that romaine lettuce may contain E. coli. At the time of this writing, the outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce is linked to produce grown in central and northern California.

In 2017 there were 456 food recalls in the United States. In 2016, there were 764. The CDC states that “1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food” and yearly, the CDC estimates that over 48 million people become sick from foodborne illnesses, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die. These statistics tell us that foodborne illnesses are extremely common and they pose a chance of becoming fatal.

The question that we’ve received from numerous concerned citizens is simply, can you hold a company liable for any injuries sustained for consuming these products?

In other words:

Can you sue a company for getting sick after eating food that was later recalled?

As is with every legal scenario, this really all depends on the facts of each individual case. Let’s take a look at a few examples of when someone may or may not have an injury claim for eating tainted food:


Scenario: You purchased romaine lettuce that was infected with E. coli. You later grow ill and doctors are able to determine that your illness is directly linked to an E. coli infection. Later, the news announces that the romaine lettuce you ate has been recalled for containing E. coli.

In this scenario, it is highly likely that you could potentially receive compensation for an injury claim but it is a skilled food poisoning lawyer‘s job to help determine who is at fault. Investigations and reports by the FDA and the CDC can help food poisoning attorneys assign blame for your injury.


Scenario: You purchased a turkey that was infected by a salmonella outbreak. You wait a few days to cook the turkey and in the meantime, the FDA has issued a recall for the turkey you purchased. After eating the turkey, you grow sick from salmonella. It is later discovered that you failed to properly prepare the turkey and that you knew about the salmonella outbreak and the recall that was made after the purchase.

With these facts, it is highly unlikely that you would receive any compensation for your injury claims. Knowingly ingesting food that is tainted will absolutely destroy your own food poisoning case and is akin to making yourself slip on spilled water for a personal injury claim or jumping in front of a moving vehicle for car accident lawsuit.


Scenario: A family member purchases food that was infected with E. coli. That family member dies and doctors are able to determine that their death is directly linked to an E. coli infection. Later, the news announces that the food your family member ate has been recalled for containing E. coli.

Again, much like Scenario 1, it is highly likely that the family members’ estate would have a wrongful death claim on their hands. A skilled wrongful death lawyer, along with expert reports from the CDC and the FDA could help determine who the family members’ estate should sue for causing the death of the family member.

What Should I Do If I’ve Eaten Recalled Food?

  1. Seek Medical Attention: This is the absolute first things you should do in the event that you have eaten tainted food. Doctors may be able to prescribe life-saving medications before your illness may become more serious.
  2. Call A Food Poisoning Lawyer Immediately: With food poisoning cases, time really is of the essence. The further time passes, the weaker your potential injury claim may be in the eyes of a jury or a judge. Call an experienced food poisoning attorney as soon as possible to get your food poisoning case moving quickly.
  3. Gather Your Evidence: Remember, anything associated with a civil claim like a personal injury claim or a car accident claim NEEDS to be treated as evidence in the scene of a crime. Receipts, containers, sometimes even the food itself may need to be examined immediately by an expert.

Call The Food Poisoning Lawyers At Moore Law Firm Today!

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a foodborne illness, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the McAllen food poisoning lawyers at Moore Law Firm immediately for your FREE and FAST consultation!

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