Chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs, an Easter staple, have been recalled by an Indiana candy maker cover fears that they may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. According to an ABC News report, Zachary Confections announced the voluntary recall of the Easter treats after a sample taken during routine testing revealed “the potential for salmonella contamination.”

The recall covers five-ounce packages of the marshmallow eggs that are sold in white egg crates with purple, green and yellow lettering and carry the product number 31-797 and the “best by” date of February 14, 2014.

These products were shipped to stores in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company states it is not aware of any illnesses linked to its products. But it has suspended production while FDA officials investigate the potential contamination. The FDA recommends that anyone who purchased these products return them to the store and not consume them.

How Dangerous is Salmonella?

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 1.4 million cases of salmonella food poisoning in the United States each year. Only 40,000 of those cases are actually reported.

The top three causes of hospitalization in 2008 due to food-borne illnesses were salmonella (62 percent), E. coli (17 percent) and Norovirus (7 percent). Each year, 400 people in the United States die as a result of salmonella infection.

The most common signs and symptoms of salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal cramping or pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains and bloody stools. In many cases, salmonella infection could lead to several days of hospitalization. Salmonella infection may also result in serious injury or death, especially if it is resistant to medication.

Liability of Food Producers

Food producers are responsible for ensuring that their products are clean and safe for consumers. Victims who are affected by food poisoning can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, treatment, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

An experienced personal injury attorney in California who has successfully handled food poisoning cases will be able to better advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options. If you have been sickened by contaminated food, please isolate and preserve the food item so it can be examined in a laboratory and report the incident to your local health care agency.