Since November, 2006, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have been investigating many cases of illness potentially related to the multi-state outbreak of E. coli 0157 infection associated with Taco Bell restaurants. A large number of these cases appear to be centered in the tri-state, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Many come from counties in central and north New Jersey including Middlesex, Somerset, Essex and Union counties.Taco Bell restaurants have reportedly ordered that all green onions be removed from all 5800 restaurants throughout the country. This outbreak of E. coli is significant. E. Coli infection can cause serious health problems now and in the future, including a form of kidney failure kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). E. coli outbreaks are often linked to rare and undercooked meats and unsanitary working conditions. Symptoms of E. coli infection could include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps or vomiting.
Information about Hiring an Attorney or Lawyer Concerning the Taco Bell E. coli Outbreak in New Jersey and New York
Our New Jersey Attorneys are currently investigating food poisoning and Taco Bell e. coli cases concerning the Taco Bell e. coli outbreak in the New Jersey and New York area. Our law firm has lawyers licensed to practice in both New Jersey and New York.
Food poisoning lawsuits arising from the Taco Bell e. coli outbreak will involve an area of the law called negligence and products liability. The law provides that where an item of food or drink intended for human consumption is sold, an implied warranty is imposed on the seller that the item is fit for human consumption and free from any harmful or unwholesome substances, when it leaves the seller’s control. UCC 2-314; Hohn v. South Shore Services, Inc., 529 N.Y.S.2d 129 (2d Dep’t 1988); 86 NYJur2d Products Liability § 129 at 517; 90 ALR4th 12 Foreign Substance in Beverage § 2[a] at 22; see also England v. Sanford, 561 N.Y.S.2d 228 (1st Dep’t 1990), aff’d 78 N.Y.2d 928, 573 N.Y.S.2d 639 (1991).
A seller is under a duty adequately to prepare, inspect and package its food product, and failure to take these precautions establishes a prima facie case of negligence. Bissonette v. National Biscuit Co., 100 F.2d 1003, 1004 (2d Cir.1939). In certain situations, independent proof of its unfitness for human consumption is not even required. Vamos v. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, Inc. , 627 N.Y.S.2d 265, 269 (N.Y.Civ.Ct.1995) (batteries in soft drink bottle); Ryan v. Progressive Grocery Stores, 255 N.Y. 388 (1931) (pin in bread); Barrington v. Hotel Astor, 171 N.Y.S. 840 (1st Dep’t 1918) (mouse in meat); Stark v. Chock Full O’Nuts, 356 N.Y.S.2d 403 (App.Term, 1st Dep’t 1974) (walnut shell in cheese); Gay v. A & P Food Stores, 240 N.Y.S.2d 809 (Civ.Ct., Bronx Co.1963) (worm in corn); Trembley v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., 138 N.Y.S.2d 332 (3rd Dep’t 1955) (mouse in Coke); Mitchell v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 200 N.Y.S.2d 478 (3rd Dep’t 1960) (insect in Coke); Perez v. Glens Falls Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., 291 N.Y.S.2d 198 (3rd Dep’t 1968) (thread-like leafy substance in Coke); Lore v. De Simone Bros., 172 N.Y.S.2d 829 (Sup.Ct., Richmond Co.1958) (bone in salami); see also Chysky v. Drake Brothers Co., 235 N.Y. 468, 472 (1923) (nail in cake). Our New Jersey law firm has successfully handled a number of products liability and negligence lawsuits on behalf of people injured by defective and unsafe products.
The service of food in a restaurant such as a Taco Bell is a sale. And a restaurant which sells the food to its customers warrants that the food will not be foul, including absent of e. coli infection. The sale of food in a restaurant fits within the definition of the implied warranty of merchantability. A restaurant such as Taco Bell serving e. coli infected food may be found strictly liable under the law to e. coli infected patrons. The buying, selling and distribution of food to the public, such as at a Taco Bell restaurant, is a highly regulated field. New Jersey’s Food and Drug Act, N.J.S.A. 24:1-1 to 24:21-53, sets forth the standards and guidelines governing the sale and distribution of food. N.J.S.A. 24:5-1 provides: “No person shall distribute or sell, … any food, … which under any of the provisions of this subtitle is adulterated….” It further defines adulterated food as follows: “If it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health … If it falls below the standard of purity, quality or strength which it purports or is represented to possess.” The sale of food is also considered the sale of a product and a restaurant such as Taco Bell that serves e. coli infected food can also be held strictly liable under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act.
Our New Jersey and New York admitted attorneys are ready to meet with you for a free consultation concerning your possible Taco Bell e.coli infection or other possible food poisoning lawsuit case. If you feel you have been a victim of the Taco Bell E.Coli outbreak, or other food contact one of our New Jersey Lawyers at any of the following:
Phone: 732-224-9400 / 877-288-9247