Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Bill Marler has litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. They have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
- Before ordering anything, WASH YOUR HANDS. If a restaurant’s wash rooms are not clean and/or readily available with hot water and liquid soap, don’t eat there.
- Research the restaurant before you go. Check with the local health department to see if the restaurant you are interested in has a good safety record, avoiding restaurants with multiple critical health violations or closures for failure to correct them.
- Ask the restaurant about its own food safety policies. Quality restaurants will gladly provide you with their food safety policies and plan, especially if you call the manager during non-peak hours.
- Do not accept menu or service mistakes. These can be signs there is that food is being improperly handled or prepared. Marler says if restaurants succeeded in keeping “hot things hot” and “cold things cold,” there would be far fewer incidents of food-borne illness.
- Ask questions, especially about the restaurant’s food suppliers. As consumers, you have the right to know if a restaurant is getting items such as meat and poultry from vendors that test for bacterial contaminants.
- Leave small children at home and be extremely careful when dining out with the elderly or immune-compromised individuals. Small children are especially susceptible to the deadly effects of foodborne pathogens. Next to small children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to foodborne illness.
- Avoid restaurants that invite “cross contamination.” Marler says some restaurants are “designed” to spread disease. Self-serve cafeteria-style outlets where customers may not have washed their hands before touching common serving utensils should be avoided.
- Be especially careful during “unsolved” outbreaks. Until health officials have the facts, do not assume anything about the source of an ongoing outbreak.
- Finally, educate yourself about foodborne illness. Resources about E. coli and other foodborne pathogens are widely available online.
- If you become ill – especially if you suffer bloody diarrhea – seek immediate medical attention.
For more information on E. coli – www.about-ecoli.com and hemolytic uremic syndrome – www.about-hus.com.