A new study released this month concluded that some strains of E. coli bacteria, a deadly pathogen found in a number of food products like ground beef, can survive the cooking process. The study prepared foods to certain temperatures and discovered that some pathogens were still alive past 160 degrees F, the recommended temperature for cooking meat products in order to kill the bacteria. There are many different strains of the pathogen E. coli. Not all of them pose a serious health risk, but some like O157 can cause kidney failure and have even led to death in some instances.
The team of microbiologists who conducted the study hailed from China’s Huazhong Agricultural University, as well as an institution in Alberta, Canada. Information suggesting that some pathogens may survive high cooking temperatures has been available for nearly a decade, but it was not until recently that the subject was explored specifically and in greater depth.
The next phase of research for the team will involve exploring how commonly pathogens survive the cooking process and which strains of E. coli may be particularly impervious to heat. They will also look at other pathogens to see whether this issue is happening in other contexts. Another avenue of research will involve identifying other food ingredients that may help kill the pathogen.
Although many instances of food poisoning are temporary and cause little harm, there are a number of cases in which serious or even fatal injuries result. If you have been sickened by a contaminated food product, you can bring a legal claim against the companies or individuals responsible for its production, packaging, preparation, and disposal. Common examples of potential defendants in the production chain include farmers, processing plants, manufacturing plants, packaging facilities, wholesale distributors, grocery stores, and restaurants.
A number of causes of action may apply to your foodborne illness case, including negligence and product liability. In a negligence action, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care, failed to act according to that duty, and caused the plaintiff’s injuries as a direct result. When it comes to food production, people who harvest, package, prepare, and serve food have a duty to ensure that it is free from contaminants, handled according to safe handling best practices, and disposed of in a clean and safe manner. In a product liability case, the plaintiff need only show that the allegedly dangerous product was designed in an unreasonably unsafe manner, suffered from a mistake during the manufacturing process that rendered it unreasonably dangerous, or failed to include sufficient warnings or adequate instructions.
If you have become ill as the result of consuming contaminated food, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our food contamination lawyers have substantial experience investigating and researching claims involving pathogens and contamination, and we know how to navigate the scientific complexities of these cases. Proudly representing clients throughout the U.S., including in California, Florida, New York, and Illinois, we offer a free consultation to help you learn about the legal implications of your potential lawsuit. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.