Food can be a defective product for purposes of product liability law. If a manufacturer or retailer puts food on the market that is a defective product, the responsible parties will be liable for all injuries caused. Like in all other product liability cases, strict liability is available in West Virginia as well as all other jurisdictions. Thus, as long as a defect can be proved and the product was being used for its intended purpose, then liability will follow even if the manufacturer or retailers were careful and used due care.
There are federal and state agencies that will usually catch up rather quickly with any kind of widespread food contamination. The agencies will usually then remain involved until a full recall is done. One of the common dangers creating a defect in food and necessitating an immediate recall is contamination with the Salmonella bacterium. Ingestion can cause Salmonellosis food poisoning.
The symptoms of Salmonellosis are diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and fever. The symptoms usually last for four to seven days. Those with the greatest danger are children, the elderly and persons with compromised immune systems. In certain complications with the disease, lingering symptoms may last for months and even years.
The bacterium is commonly found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk and meat. One of the most frequent causes occurs when a food handler does not wash his hands after going to the bathroom. It's unknown what caused the recent contamination of poultry distributed by Tyson Foods but the company issued a massive recall for more than 30,000 pounds of chicken. There were several reported cases of illnesses and hospitalizations leading to the recall.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has categorized the recall as class one, high health risk. However, the FSIS quelled the fears of consumers in West Virginia and elsewhere by saying that the defective product was not available for retail purchase in stores. The FSIS insisted that the products were shipped for institutional use and several people who consumed the product in a correctional facility in one state became ill. Tyson did confirm shipping the defective product to institutions throughout the country.
Source: ibtimes.com, Tyson Chicken Recall 2014: 33,840 Lbs. Of Meat Recalled For 'Salmonella Heidelberg' After Several Reported Illnesses [FULL LIST], Rebecka Schumann, Jan. 13, 2014