People in Massachusetts and elsewhere tend to take the safety of their food for granted. Food poisoning is often regarded as nothing more than a nuisance, but a recent outbreak of listeria and a related wrongful death lawsuit shows how dangerous this assumption can be.

Listeria is a bacterium that is found in improperly processed dairy products. The bacterium can cause the disease listeriosis, an infection that can be fatal. The first case in the region was reported to the Food & Drug on Sept. 1, 2016, but the FDA took no action until January of this year. By then, six cases and two deaths had been reported. Health officials were able to trace the outbreak of listeria to a soft raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery in Walton, NY. The creamery sells its products in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Maine. When the listeria outbreak was discovered, the company immediately recalled the brands of cheese that were believed to have started the outbreak.

One of the deaths occurred on Nov. 2, 2016, when a Vermont resident succumbed to the disease. After visiting the emergency room for treatment of listeriosis symptoms, the man was transferred to a rehabilitation center. While there, he suffered a fatal stroke that was related to the listeriosis. The man’s widow has commenced a wrongful death action against the creamery, alleging that its cheese products were defective because they contained listeria.

As this case demonstrates, contaminated or defective foods are a serious threat to public health. Anyone who has been sickened by or lost a loved one to a foodborne illness may wish to consult a lawyer who handles wrongful death cases. Such a consultation can provide a helpful analysis of the facts and law that apply to the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expense, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of companionship.

Source: Fox News Health, “Widow names raw milk creamery linked to listeria outbreak in wrongful death lawsuit,” Mar. 15, 2017