Product liability claims could follow Blue Bell listeria outbreak

Defective or dangerous products aren't limited to one industry or type of product. Whether it is a poorly designed hand tool or a child's toy coated in paint that contains toxic materials, serious or catastrophic injuries can occur. A recent outbreak of listeria at a hospital was linked back to tainted Blue Bell ice cream, and it might be possible that other cases have gone unreported. Victims who are now aware of where the listeria contamination began may be considering a product liability claim.

Although the most recent listeria outbreak caused at least three deaths at a hospital outside of Ohio, the CDC puts the annual number of fatalities closer to 260. Another 1,600 typically suffer injuries after ingesting food that has been contaminated with the listeria bacteria. In 2014, some of the confirmed sources of listeria contamination included sprouts, cheese and caramel apples that had been prepackaged for sale in grocery stores.

Now, the FDA believes that contamination of some of Blue Bell's ice cream can be traced back to a single production line at creamery in Texas. That production line has been shut down, and Blue Bell has destroyed any products that were made from that line. Nevertheless, future infections could still occur. While the hospitals in the area where patients were sickened and killed by the bacteria also tossed the ice cream products, it is possible that consumers may have the contaminated ice creams in their own personal freezers.

Listeria is especially deadly to individuals who have an already suppressed immune system, which means patients who were exposed while at the hospital may face an increased risk for related complications. Also particularly susceptible to the side effects of listeria are people who are 65 or older. This age group represents nearly 60 percent of all reported listeria cases. When toxic materials from dangerous or contaminated products harm or seriously injure Ohio consumers, the implications can be more than just physical. When addressing the full spectrum of related damages, some victims find that successfully navigating a product liability claim to completion can garner the most favorable outcome possible.

Source: sacbee.com, "3 Kansans die after eating listeria-contaminated Blue Bell ice cream, state says", Roy Wenzl and Kelsey Ryan, March 13, 2015

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