Restaurants are the source of numerous food poisoning incidents each year for which they may or may not be responsible. Sometimes, the restaurant will unknowingly use contaminated food and the food supplier is the liable party. Other times, the restaurant may have caused the incident if it was negligent in safely preparing the food or maintaining a clean kitchen. If a single restaurant or chain of restaurants is involved in multiple food poisoning incidents, health officials may investigate the food safety practices of the restaurants. Officials can even recommend that criminal charges be brought against the restaurant for serving contaminated food.
Chipotle Pays Record Fine
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California fined Chipotle Mexican Grill $25 million for two counts of severing adulterated food in its restaurant. Chipotle agreed to pay the fine – which is the largest ever for a food safety case – and claimed that it has already spent millions more to improve its food safety practices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration traced at least five food poisoning outbreaks to the restaurant from 2015 to 2018 that are believed to have sickened more than 1,100 people. The cases included multiple norovirus outbreaks in different restaurants across the country. The allegations against the company included:
- Improper training of employees in food safety practices
- Not keeping food at high enough temperatures to prevent the spread of pathogens
- Employees feeling pressured to continue working despite feeling sick
- Restaurant managers not reporting incidents of employees vomiting at work to company safety officials until after customers complained about becoming sick
Norovirus is a pathogen that can be easily spread in a restaurant if infected employees are handling the food. Symptoms from norovirus can take 12 to 48 hours to develop and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Most patients improve in one-to-three days.
Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney
Proving that a restaurant is responsible for your food poisoning is difficult if you are an isolated case. However, organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control compile data on clusters of people with the same food-borne illness in order to determine its source. If you are part of a cluster, you may have a better chance of proving the source of your illness. An Illinois food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, can gather evidence by searching for related food poisoning cases near you. Schedule a consultation by calling 847-840-8950.