Maine's Foremost Personal Injury Attorneys Food Allergy Injuries

Recent estimates indicate that four percent of adults and eight percent of children in the United States are allergic to one or more foods. In fact, the number of people with food allergies has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study on food allergies, which showed that between 1997 and 2011, there was a fifty percent increase in the incidence of food allergies among American children.

As the number of people living with food allergies increases, so does the occurrence of injuries which are related to food allergies. The ways in which people experience allergic reactions to foods range from uncomfortable symptoms like hives, nausea, and wheezing to serious conditions like anaphylaxis, which can cause serious harm and even death.

Common Allergens

Approximately ninety percent of all food-related allergic reactions are caused by eight foods. These eight foods are:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Many packaged and processed foods contain at least one of the eight common allergens, so families with food allergies often spend a lot of time reading labels at the supermarket to ensure that they are bringing safe foods into their homes.

Duties of Restaurants and Other Places Where Food is Served

Dining out is a large part of American culture, both for enjoyment and out of necessity brought about by busy lifestyles. For people with food allergies, dining out can be both risky and challenging. Approximately fifty percent of fatal allergic reactions to food occur outside of the victims’ homes. People with food allergies often take steps to keep themselves safe while dining out by informing restaurant staff of their allergies and asking for guidance about which menu items is safe for them to eat. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of food-allergic restaurant patrons to keep themselves safe, they are sometimes served food that contains the allergens that they must avoid and they experience allergic reactions.

Many restaurants in Maine are no more dangerous to patrons with food allergies than restaurants in other places in America. However, two popular Maine products, fish and shellfish (including and especially lobster) do pose a danger to restaurant patrons who are allergic to them. If you order a menu item which does not contain fish or shellfish, it can easily become cross-contaminated by the presence of those items in the restaurant’s kitchen. For this reason, Food Allergy Research and Nutrition (FARE), a consumer advocacy group, suggests that allergic consumers avoid seafood restaurants and Asian restaurants, where many dishes are prepared with fish-based sauces.

When restaurant staff are notified of a food allergy and either choose to disregard the patron’s instructions or fail to use reasonable care to provide the patron with a safe meal, the restaurant may be liable for the harm that the patron experienced as a result of their allergic reaction. Since it is not uncommon for food allergies to be life-threatening, the family of a person who died as a result of an allergic reaction that they experienced while dining away from home may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death against the establishment which served the food that contained the allergen.

Peter Thompson & Associates: Helping Food Allergy Injury Victims Across Maine

If you have been injured or someone that you love has been killed as a result of a severe allergic reaction to food, the personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are here to assist you. With offices in Portland, Bangor, and Falmouth, our dedicated team of professionals is easily accessible to clients throughout the state of Maine. Please call us today at 1 800.804.2004 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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