By William Bill Hurst

More than 125,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and 3,000 people die from food borne illnesses each year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Salmonella is the number one food contaminate causing nearly one-third of all food borne hospitalizations and deaths according to the CDC data. Salmonella is a bacterial disease that strikes the intestinal tract and thrives in the intestines of humans and animals.  Humans typically contract salmonella through contaminated food sources like eggs, poultry, and meat.  In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables may be sprayed or washed with salmonella tainted water.  The CDC closely tracks food borne illnesses in ten states to watch for food poisoning trends.  Its report for last year showed that the rates of food borne illnesses have been holding steady for the past five years and grilled chicken accounted for 45% of the outbreaks.  A diarrhea-causing bacteria called clostridium perfringens is commonly linked to poultry.  A more deadly bacteria called E-coli was most often linked to beef.  Norovirus a common bug most often spread by food handlers is frequently seen in leafy vegetables.

Typical symptoms of food poising include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea that occurs suddenly (within 48 hours) after consuming a contaminated food or drink.  Depending on the contaminant, fever and chills, bloody stools, dehydration, and nervous system damage may follow.  World-wide diarrhea illnesses are among the leading causes of death.

There are more than 250 known diseases can be transmitted through food.  Many cases of food poisoning are not reported because people have suffered mild symptoms and recovered quickly.  Also, doctors do not test for a cause in every suspected case because it does not change the treatment or the outcome.  Therefore, the CDC statistics do not include a large percentage of food borne illnesses.  The known causes of food poisoning can be divided into two categories:  infection agents and toxic agents.  Infection agents include viruses, bacteria and parasites while toxic agents include poisonous foods such as mushroom, improperly prepared exotic foods, or pesticides on fruits and vegetables.  The most common bacteria in food includes staphylococcus (found in salad, dressings, ham, eggs, custard-filled pastries, mayonnaise, and potato salad) and salmonella found in poultry, beef, eggs and dairy products or E-coli found in undercooked hamburger, raw milk and contaminated water.

Unlike many diseases food borne illnesses is entirely preventable. If these dangerous bacteria were purple colored, restaurants employees would clean the product better because people would see the purple colored stains but because they are invisible food preparers are failing in their obligation to the public.

Various food distributors have recently recalled various products.  In North Carolina vegetable and fruit distributor recently recalled cucumbers in nine states including Indiana after cucumbers distributed were found contaminated with salmonella.  A total of 5,000 pounds of potentially harmful cucumbers were distributed in Indiana and Illinois alone.,0,3354219.story

Another company in Raleigh, North Carolina is currently recalling cucumbers because it had the potential of being contaminated with salmonella.  This apparently was successfully done without causing illness to the population.

Restaurant retail establishment food distributors have a duty to you, the consumer to keep their products in a reasonably safe condition.  Failure to do so could expose them to civil liability.

If you or someone that you know has been the victim of food borne illness or any form of product defect, please call the office of William “Bill” Hurst, an attorney who is experienced in making this type of claim.  You can also visit

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Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years. Bill has helped families with tragic life altering injuries and deaths. Bill has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements to compensate families for their losses. He is a graduate, with honors, from Indiana University School of Law. He has served on the Executive Committee and is a Director Emeritus of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He has published articles on various personal injury topics and has lectured at various legal seminars. Bill is listed in Naifeh and Smith, The Best Lawyers in America and has been for over ten (10) years, Bill is selected as a “Super Lawyer” by the Indianapolis Monthly Magazine from its first publication in 2002 to its most recent; he was selected as one of Indiana’s Top 100 Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association. In 2000, Bill was named the Indiana Trial Lawyer Of The Year by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. Bill has the highest rating given by Martindale Hubble, as does his law firm. Bill has extensive litigation experience involving automobile, truck, motorcycle, bike accidents, slip and fall cases, product and manufacturing failures, dangerous drugs, product design, construction site accidents and more. He has represented clients not only in Indiana but also throughout the Country. Bill successfully represented the State of Indiana in the Tobacco Litigation. He has been involved in mass tort litigation, representing all women in the State of Indiana in the Norplant litigation, breast implant litigation, and represents represented numerous clients in the Vioxx litigation. Bill believes that every case is unique and requires special personal attention. You may email him at or call (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation.