As many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies or sensitivities to certain food products, such as tree nuts, peanuts, and gluten. For such consumers, exposure to certain allergens can cause reactions as mild as a headache and as severe as anaphylaxis. This is one of many reasons why the correct labeling of food products is so important.
Unfortunately, mistakes are not uncommon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks recalls and safety alerts in order to keep the public aware of known issues, but sometimes this information comes too late to prevent accidental ingestion of – and sometimes severe reactions to – allergens by sensitive consumers.
When this happens, consumers do have some legal recourse. Just as with other products in the marketplace, food products can be the subject of a product liability lawsuit if an injury or death results from mislabeling.
Undeclared Allergens in Grocery Items
Earlier this week, the Kroger Company recalled some of their Bakery Fresh Goodness chocolate brownies because they were found to have walnuts in them, even though walnuts were not listed on the label of the product. Kroger warned that those who are allergic to walnuts could have a potentially severe reaction to the brownies. According to the FDA, at least one customer has reported a possible allergic reaction to the brownies.
In late November, the manufacturer of Simply Roundy’s Natural – Authentic Italian Sweet Butternut Squash Ravioli announced that its product could contain cashews and almonds, a fact that was not declared on the package labeling. As with the Kroger brownies, those with serious allergies to nuts could have a life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the ravioli. No injuries have yet been reported. The recall happened due to test results from an outside agency.
Also in November, a bakery issued an allergy alert due to the presence of undeclared peanuts in their Snickers 8×8 cakes. The recall was done voluntarily, after it was discovered that the product label did not properly claim peanuts as an ingredient, even though peanuts are routinely used in making the cakes.
If You Have Been Exposed to an Undeclared Allergen
In reviewing the FDA’s website, it is readily apparently that undeclared allergens make their way into the food supply on an unfortunately frequent basis. Those with severe reactions should keep track of their medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses associated with their resulting symptoms and consult an attorney about the possibility of seeking legal redress via a products liability lawsuit. Products liability lawsuits can take several different forms, including causes of action for breach of warranty, manufacturing defect, negligence, and failure to warn.
To Speak to a Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member has been hurt by an adverse reaction to an unlabeled allergen or been harmed by a dangerous or defective product, you can schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Massachusetts products liability attorney by calling the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, at 888-262-6664. We serve clients throughout the Cape Cod area, as well as elsewhere in Massachusetts.
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