California-based River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC is expanding it voluntary recall of retail and food service bagged salads due to food poisoning concerns. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the salads may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly bacteria. The retail salad products under this recall were distributed throughout the United States and Canada and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Shurfresh and The Farmer’s Market. Also, salad products for the foodservice industry being included in this recall were distributed nationwide and in Canada under brand names of River Ranch and Sysco.

Listeria Poisoning

Listeria outbreaks have not been very common in United States history. However, when they did occur, they resulted in numerous illnesses and fatalities. Most recently, last year, an outbreak involving listeria-contaminated cantaloupes caused 16 deaths and 72 illnesses in 18 states including California. In 1998, 21 people died as a result of consuming listeria-contaminated hot dogs and deli meat.

The symptoms of listeria poisoning may not be immediately obvious, and could include flu-like conditions, fever, body ache and stiffness. Pregnant women are particularly at risk because listeria can be deadly to fetuses and result in birth defects, miscarriages and stillbirths. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to listeria poisoning.

Compensation for Food Poisoning Victims

Based on this news article, it is not clear as to what caused these defective products to become contaminated. Were there any food safety violations? When was the production facility last inspected? Was the contamination the result of negligence on the part of the food producer? If that was the case, the manufacturer of these defective food products can be held liable for the illnesses and injuries caused.

Those who have consumed these contaminated products would be well advised to isolate any remaining food in a separate bag or box and preserve it for lab testing. Food-poisoning victims may benefit from a consultation with an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has successfully handled food poisoning cases. Victims may be able to seek compensation to cover damages such as medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.