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Most widespread products liability debacle of 2016: Cucumbers

Imported cucumbers have recently wreaked havoc on the health of hundreds of people, beginning in 2015. By the end of 2016, 907 people around the country reported contracting Salmonella Poona infections from the tainted cucumbers, including at least one person here in Pennsylvania. Reportedly, 204 people had to be hospitalized due to the infection and six people died. This is said to be the most widespread products liability debacle of 2016.

The nationwide outbreak resulted in the Food and Drug Administration issuing two bans on the cucumbers being imported into the United States. The level of contamination in these cucumbers was so high that the potential for cross-contamination to other surfaces and products existed, but was not confirmed. The outbreak included three different strains of Salmonella Poona as well. 

The connection was discovered when unrelated people began reporting the illness. They shopped at the same stores, and all of them got sick within a few days of each other. People reported illnesses through the latter part of February 2016, after a peak between Aug. and Sept. 2015. As can happen with any recall, the cucumbers could not be taken out of stores and distribution centers fast enough to prevent widespread illnesses.

This was not the only instance of a product recalled for salmonella contamination last year, but it was the largest. Anytime a Pennsylvania resident contracts a serious illness -- or loses a loved one -- from a food product, the companies responsible for its manufacturing, distribution and sale could be held responsible for the damages sustained through the litigation of a products liability claim. Any restitution could help defray the financial losses incurred by the victim and/or the family.

Source: foodpoisoningbulletin.com, "Largest Food Poisoning Outbreak of 2016: Salmonella in Cucumbers", Dec. 31, 2016

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