Parents of children who are allergic to certain food allergens are very careful when it comes to buying food. They want to make sure that the foods they are buying do not contain the food allergen their child is allergic to; therefore, they read the ingredients labels very carefully. However, labels can be wrong or mislabeled, or worse, labels can be correct, but the food somehow contains the food allergen.
Even though ingredients of food products, such as chocolate chip cookies, do not have peanuts in them, the chocolate cookies may still contain peanuts. This is due to the problem of cross-contamination, which occurs when a safe food comes in contact with a food allergen such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish, etc.
A food manufacturer makes chocolate chip cookies and also peanut butter cookies. If the peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies are made and run on the same line, i.e., the cookies were being sorted through the same machinery, then the chocolate chip cookies may have traces of peanuts due to cross-contamination from the peanut butter cookies.
The packaging on the chocolate chip cookies may say “manufactured in a plant that uses peanuts” or “product may contain peanuts” which signifies that the safe food may be contaminated.
Sometimes however, as much as consumers and parents of kids allergic to a food allergen, such as peanuts, want to trust that the labels are accurate, it may not be the case.
Consider the following: A parent of a child who is allergic to tree nuts buys a box of cookies. The label on the box does not list tree nuts as one of the ingredients. Further, there is no statement that says the cookies were manufactured in a factory that uses tree nuts.
Thinking that the cookies are safe, the parent gives her child a cookie, and a few moments after eating the cookie, the child starts to have difficulty breathing. The child starts to suffer a severe allergic reaction and goes into anaphylactic shock within minutes. Fortunately, the mother has an Epi-pen and uses it on the child. The child is admitted in a hospital for a week due to the severe allergic reactions.
It turns out that the cookie was made/run on the same line as peanut butter cookies, and the cookies had traces of peanuts due to cross-contamination.
In this situation, the manufacturing company may be liable for the child’s injuries physically and emotionally. The child has legal rights and may recover financial compensation for his/her injuries.
If you or your child suffered a severe allergic reaction due to someone’s negligence, you have legal rights. Call Daniel J. O’Brien, a PA and NJ personal injury lawyer to schedule a FREE consultation and discuss your legal rights. Call 877.944.8396.
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