Broward County health officials investigating a possible food poisoning death have ordered a country club to throw out a substantial amount of meat, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported June 15. The inspection of the Weston Hills Country Club’s restaurant was ordered after a member, Edward Nacht, died of an illness that set in after eating at the club. Inspectors have not found evidence connecting the incident with food poisoning, but they did find multiple health code violations. The investigation is ongoing.
Nacht, a dentist from Plantation, had played golf with three friends on the morning of June 3, then headed to the restaurant. All four people in the party had a chicken dish, and all four felt sick later in the day. Six days later, Nacht, an apparently healthy and active 65-year-old, died. The Sun-Sentinel reported that the cause of death was a massive bacterial infection, but the country club disputed that in a press release. Pointing out that no one else who ate chicken that day got sick, it suggested that the illness was viral.
Nonetheless, the state’s inspectors found 16 health code violations on a June 10 visit. The violation that led to discarding the meat had to do with a malfunctioning cooler, which let the temperature of the meat rise above the maximum 41 degrees for 12 hours or more. Other violations included allowing raw foods to touch; leaking coolers; improper hand-washing and a slimy ice machine. An inspection in April turned up similar problems.
As a Pembroke Pines defective products lawyer, I’m pleased that this case is bringing attention to the risk of food poisoning at restaurants. Most recent high-profile food poisoning scares, such as the Georgia peanut butter recall, had to do with food products intended for consumption at home. While those risks are real and serious, risks at restaurants can be even greater. Because they handle such high volumes of food and customers, restaurants run a much higher risk than home kitchens of accidentally serving contaminated food. The problem is only compounded by the disconnect between kitchen staff and customers, which can allow violations to go unnoticed longer.
Just like the manufacturers of food for home consumption, restaurants have a legal obligation to make sure their food is safe to eat. If they fail in that obligation, they could be legally liable for selling a defective product, just as food manufacturers would be. (Depending on the cause of the food poisoning, the restaurant might also, or instead, be guilty of negligence.) In a Hialeah food poisoning lawsuit, victims can claim all of the losses the tainted food caused for them, including the cost of medical bills and time off work, as well as compensation for their pain, suffering and any permanent disability or wrongful death.
If you believe a food manufacturer or restaurant’s carelessness gave you serious food poisoning, you should call our law firm, Cohn, Smith & Cohn, as soon as possible. Our Jupiter product defects attorneys represent people throughout South Florida who were seriously injured by a defective or unreasonably dangerous consumer product, including food products. We’re proud to say that, in more than 25 years of practice, we have helped hundreds of Floridians get the compensation they need to pay medical bills, make ends meet while recovering from a serious injury and eventually move on. To learn more about your options at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call our main office at (954) 431-8100.