One of the most common sources of food poisoning is undercooked food. Many foods must reach a certain internal temperature in order to kill all harmful bacteria and make the food safe to eat. When foods are not quite cooked to this threshold temperature, latent bacteria that survived the cooking can infect consumers and cause serious illness. While restaurant chefs and cooks are well aware of these important guidelines for cooking meat, eggs, and other raw foods, sometimes they fail to properly prepare their foods at the correct temperatures and are responsible for a customer’s illness.
Raw foods such as turkey, chicken, beef, eggs, and seafood can become infected with bacteria during processing. It is impossible to prevent all potential infections, so it is important to always make sure that food is cooked to the proper temperature. Two of the most common bacteria that can cause food poisoning from undercooked foods are Salmonella and E. coli.
If food is left out after cooking, the bacteria begin to multiply, increasing a patron’s chances of infection and its severity. The only way to entirely eradicate these bacteria from food is to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly prior to consumption.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has compiled a list of recommended cooking temperatures for raw foods. The minimum appropriate temperatures for cooked proteins can be viewed on the USDA website. It is easy to check the internal temperatures of foods cooked at home using a food thermometer, which can be purchased at any grocery store. It is more difficult to tell if restaurant food has been cooked properly.
One way to tell if your meat has been cooked thoroughly is to slice it and look at the color of the meat on the interior. Steak may be pink and still cooked, but all poultry should be completely white. Pink poultry meat is undercooked. If you suspect that your food is undercooked, it is best to send it back than to risk contracting food poisoning.
Everyone is affected differently by food poisoning. For some it may result in mild nausea, while others may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and a high fever. Individuals with weaker immune systems, such as children, the elderly, and people with preexisting conditions, may develop more serious complications that can lead to costly medical bills. You and your family may also be burdened with the additional costs of lost wages from time off of work, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has become ill after consuming food from a restaurant, he or she may have a serious case of food poisoning and the restaurant may be liable. To learn how you can initiate a claim for compensation for your illness and any resulting injuries, please contact the experienced Waukesha personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, by calling (800) 242-2874.