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What to Do If You Find a Foreign Object in Your Food

An injury attorney can help with your beef. Literally

Every once in a while you see it in your timeline or on the news: Someone has found an atrocious substance in their food. Some of these objects have included mice, human fingers and condoms. It leads to wonder what laws are in place to protect these consumers.

What are the laws in Georgia?

If you are injured by a foreign body in your food, whether due to the faults of a food manufacturer or from the food preparers, you may be able to recover for your injuries. Successful suits have occurred when there have been lacerations to the mouth or broken teeth, or when ingestion of the foreign body has caused illness. More specifically, the law requires that the victim has consumed some or all the foreign material, and suffered a physical injury or illness as a result. 

If there is evidence of an intentional adulteration of the food or beverage with a noxious substance, then the victim may also assert claims for battery and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress. Damages may be collected for medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. In addition, injured and sickened consumers may seek to recover compensation for their non-physical damages, such as the shock, fright, disgust, anxiety or emotional distress they suffered after chewing or ingesting the object. 

The liability for foreign substances does have a limit, though. There have been a number of failed suits involving foreign bodies in food that could be expected—for example, a chipped tooth from a fishbone, or a mouth injury from a cherry pit in a slice of cherry pie.

Additionally, the FDA has standards for processed foods in their Defect Levels Handbook. According to the book, a bunch of asparagus may have up to six beetle egg sacs attached to it and still be safe to consume; ground oregano can have up to 1,250 insect fragments per 10 grams; and black currant jam can have up to 75 percent mold content in it before it is considered unsafe to eat.

What should I do if I find something gross in my food?

Keep the packaging and receipt, and document the foreign body with photographs. The most important recommendation is to take the actual food that you found the foreign body within and place it in a safe container in your freezer. Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue in these types of cases is the destruction of evidence.

Also, be certain to get the medical attention you need to become well after your incident. And gather all of your medical records from before the incident to ensure your personal injury case will be able to prove the foreign body was the cause of your personal injury claim.

After gathering all of the evidence you can, be certain to take legal action and contact an experienced personal injury attorney for legal advice. Most law firms and personal injury lawyers offer a free case review to discuss your legal issues. For more information on this area of law, see our overview of personal injury law.

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