When it comes to product defects, the first things that come to mind might be mass produced goods. Many may remember the national Tylenol recall of 1982, prompted by product tampering that killed seven people. In 2014, General Motors recalled 30 million cars due to faulty ignitions that resulted in 124 deaths. And then there’s the Takata air bag recall that continues today.

Prepared foods might not rise swiftly to the surface as a source of possible product defect, but headlines in recent days show it’s a threat to not take lightly. 

On one front, there is word of hundreds of cases of possible food poisoning across the Midwest. Federal officials say the common link could be salad fixings packaged by the company Fresh Express. And then there’s the news out of Powell, Ohio, of hundreds of people sickened after eating at the same Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant.

The source of the problem in the Powell case is still under investigation as this is written. What officials report is that the number of victims now adds up to well over 400. What also is known is that lawsuits seeking damages are underway.

Whether you purchase food from a restaurant or some pre-packaged product from a grocery store, you have a right to expect that it has been prepared in ways that comply with state and federal food safety laws. When sources of the products fail in that regard, it may be possible to claim negligence if you fall sick after eating the foods.

The illness doesn’t have to be so severe that it sends you to the hospital. If it prevents you from working for days, or causes pain and suffering, that may be enough to warrant seeking compensation.

If you are uncertain whether you have a viable case, the best course of action is to meet with an experienced attorney offering free initial consultations.