Something Fishy? Be Careful What You Eat

It’s almost the end of summer, and I wanted to write a blog post about what happens all too often to summer travelers who head to warm-weather beach destinations, whether it’s to Cape Cod, or elsewhere.

Let me set the scene: It’s a beautiful summer day, and you spend it at the beach, swimming, sunning, and body-surfing in the waves. At the end of the day, you visit a little clam shack, prepared to have a delicious seafood dinner. Forget the fried shrimp — you order the raw oysters on the half-shell. Everything’s going great – until about two hours later when you come down with a severe case of food poisoning.

As a Boston, Massachusetts food poisoning lawyer, I’ve seen too many cases similar to this. What are your legal rights if you come down with food poisoning from a restaurant meal? If you can prove that your food poisoning injury was the result of the food you ate at the restaurant, you can file a lawsuit against the restaurant and also its supplier. I realize that many people simply come down with food poisoning, get through the ordeal, and do nothing about it. But I assure you, you do have rights, and you are entitled to be compensated for your distress and injury.

And it’s not just oysters found in restaurants that you need to be careful of.

According to a recent story in Food Safety News, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture just recalled a product called Cape Neddick/Blue Point Oysters, because they were found to have potential for Vibrio parahaemolyticus contamination. These contaminated oysters were sold at Wegman’s stores in the Northeast, particularly in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Their labels showed the UPC codes of 2-06146-00000, 2-06152-00000, 2-06153-00000. These oysters were sold in Wegman’s seafood department between July 13 and August 5, 2013 and it is estimated that they were also sold in Wegman’s restaurants, Food Bars and Pubs. When these oysters are eaten raw, they pose a severe health threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Food Safety Division estimates that there are more than 4,000 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection occurring in the States annually. What are the symptoms you experience if you have this infection? They include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms begin within 24 hours of eating. According to a story in Men’s Health, they reported that oysters – which are filters for ocean waste — can contain the norovirus — the pathogen that is famous for causing huge trouble on cruise ships. Even when University of Arizona researchers studied oysters from “certified-safe beds,” they found that despite that precaution, 9% of these oysters were contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Be careful when consuming raw foods and exercise great caution when eating raw seafood, especially. And if you’re injured after eating, from food contamination, consult a Boston personal injury attorney.