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Columbus, OH E. Coli Lawyer

Escherichia coli, commonly referred to as E. coli, is a bacterium that inhabits the intestines of humans and animals. Although most E. coli strains are harmless and beneficial for digestion, certain strains can be harmful. Pathogenic strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, including symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea. These infections are typically spread through contaminated food or water, highlighting the importance of maintaining good hygiene and food safety practices.

Symptoms of E. coli

Identifying symptoms of E. coli poisoning involves looking for severe stomach cramps and pain, frequent diarrhea that can turn bloody, and nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, a low-grade fever may be present.

The combination of these symptoms, particularly the presence of bloody diarrhea, is a strong indicator of E. coli poisoning. Bloody diarrhea is especially concerning because it suggests significant intestinal damage caused by the E. coli bacteria, which can lead to more serious complications if not addressed promptly.

If these symptoms are observed, it is crucial to seek medical attention without delay. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to manage the infection effectively and to prevent potential complications, such as dehydration, kidney failure, or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe condition that can occur in some cases of E. coli infection.

Causes of E. coli Infections

E. coli infections are typically caused by the ingestion of the bacteria through various means. Some common causes include:

  • Undercooked Ground Beef: E. coli is often found in the intestines of cattle, so ground beef can become contaminated during processing.
  • Unpasteurized Milk and Dairy Products: Raw milk and products made from it can carry E. coli if the cows producing the milk are infected.
  • Raw Vegetables and Fruits: These can be contaminated if they come into contact with animal feces or are irrigated with contaminated water.
  • Drinking Water: If water sources are contaminated with feces from infected animals or humans, they can spread E. coli.
  • Recreational Water: Swimming in lakes, rivers, or pools contaminated with E. coli can lead to infection.
  • Poor Hygiene: E. coli can spread from person to person, especially in environments where hygiene practices are lacking, such as daycares or nursing homes.
  • Petting Zoos and Farms: Direct contact with animals or their environments can lead to E. coli infections if proper handwashing is not practiced.

Duty of Care of Restaurants to Prevent E. coli Infections

Restaurants have a significant duty of care to ensure the safety of their patrons and to prevent foodborne illnesses, including E. coli infections. This duty of care encompasses several critical practices and responsibilities:

Food Handling and Preparation

  • Ensure all staff are trained in proper food handling techniques to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Ensure that all meat, especially ground beef, is cooked to the recommended internal temperatures to kill any E. coli bacteria.

Hygiene Standards

  • Enforce strict handwashing policies for all employees, particularly after using the restroom, handling raw meat, and before preparing food.
  • Provide adequate handwashing facilities with soap, water, and hand sanitizers.

Sanitization and Cleanliness

  • Regularly clean and sanitize all kitchen surfaces, equipment, and utensils to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.
  • Ensure that the kitchen and dining areas are kept clean and free from pests.

Food Storage

  • Store food at appropriate temperatures to prevent bacterial growth, keeping perishable items refrigerated at or below 40°F (4°C).
  • Use proper storage methods to keep raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods.

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Source ingredients from reputable suppliers who follow safety and hygiene standards.
  • Ensure that all ingredients, particularly dairy products, are pasteurized and safe for consumption.

By implementing and strictly adhering to these practices, restaurants can significantly reduce the risk of E. coli contamination and protect the health of their customers.

Statistics on E. coli Cases in Columbus

In March 2018, Ohio was affected by a multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. The outbreak impacted 36 states and caused over 200 illnesses.

In 2019, there was a spike in E. coli cases in Ohio. There was an outbreak in an assisted or long-term care facility, where 37 people got ill, and three separate outbreaks at daycare centers.

In 2021 and 2022, four multistate food-related E. coli outbreaks impacted Ohio:

Call Us Today

Struggling with E. coli? The Lange Law Firm is here to help. Call (833) 330-3663 or message us online for a free consultation now. Our dedicated attorneys will listen to your story, assess your situation, and guide you through the legal process to ensure you receive the justice you deserve.