Nestle Corporation is one of the biggest food manufacturers in the world, with many people associating the brand with the chocolates and other sweets it makes. It also produces a wide variety of frozen foods under a variety of labels, including Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine, and DiGiorno pizza. The manufacturing process for frozen foods can be quite complex and typically involves many different steps, including everything from preparing the food and packaging it to freezing it.
Recent reports indicate that Nestle has recalled roughly three million units of its frozen food products that contain spinach over fears that the spinach contains glass. A wide variety of products are affected, including pizzas, pasta dishes, lasagnas, and other popular Nestle dishes. The company has released a list of production codes that customers can use to identify whether a particular unit is part of the recall. The production code is printed on the side of the DiGiorno, Lean Cuisine, and Stouffer’s packages.
To recover compensation after suffering injuries from a dangerous product, the plaintiff must show that the product was designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner or that the particular unit the plaintiff received suffered from a defect during the manufacturing process that rendered the unit unreasonably dangerous. A food item that contains a dangerous foreign object not originally designed to be part of the food item satisfies the latter prong of this test.
When it comes to suffering injuries from dangerous items in food products, the courts have issued a number of rulings defining when a manufacturer can be held liable. Most of these cases revolve around whether the consumer takes the risk of suffering a particular and foreseeable type of injury. A common example is seafood chowder, which may contain fish bones and pose a threat of serious injury to the consumer. According to at least one court, since seafood chowder is prepared using fresh fish, the consumer assumes the risk that he or she may consume fish bones and cannot hold the restaurant or manufacturer liable.
Conversely, a consumer who prepares a Lean Cuisine in the microwave does not knowingly assume the risk that the food may contain glass fragments. One does not typically assume that non-food origin items like glass, metal, or plastic will be in the food. This raises the question of how the foreign object found its way into the food item. So far, Nestle has not provided comment on how the spinach became contaminated with glass. When a manufacturer’s conduct is reckless, willful, or wanton, most states allow a plaintiff to seek punitive damages to punish the defendant for this behavior.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous product, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have represented many plaintiffs across the country in actions against careless manufacturers, including in New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the scope of your rights and the remedies that may be available to you. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your appointment now.