Food poisoning, or food borne illness, affects roughly 48 million people a year, or about 1 in 6 Americans. It can be a potential liability for a restaurant or a food packaging company -- and a painful purchase for their customers and buyers.
By inadequately handling, packaging, or even inspecting their food, businesses often must pay up for making people sick. In extreme examples, a company can even face a wrongful death suit.
If your business regularly handles raw eggs, meat, poultry, or leafy greens, you should tread -- and stir -- carefully by complying with all Massachusetts food safety regulations.
What to Look Out For
Salmonella in eggs and E. coli in beef are some of the most common sources of food poisoning. Undercooked chicken and fish can also cause problems.
But the biggest source of foodborne illness is apparently leafy green vegetables. It's linked to 20% of all food poisoning cases in the United States every year. Other common non-meat sources of illness include sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, and unpasteurized dairy products.
Fortunately, a number of precautions can help restaurant owners avoid getting sued by customers for food poisoning. Restaurant owners should:
- Regularly check meat thermometers and make sure they're calibrated correctly;
- Keep food in the refrigerator as long as possible;
- Wash fruits and vegetables multiple times;
- Read labels to ensure fresh food -- but don't go overboard with expiration dates;
- Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant before, during and after food preparation;
- Organize the kitchen and keep different types of food neatly stored separately to avoid cross-contamination;
- Have a routine system for employees to thoroughly clean utensils and cookware; and
- Have a firm company policy about employee hand washing -- not just in the bathroom -- but also in the kitchen, after handling meat and seafood.
Breaking bread is fun. Breaking someone's intestine, not so much. From jewelry to parasite destruction, going above and beyond the Massachusetts food service sanitation requirements will help you stay in the legal clear.
If you want to learn more about ways to shield your company from liability stemming from a food poisoning-related lawsuit, consult an experienced Boston personal injury attorney.