Can I Sue a Grocery Store for Food Poisoning?

Yes, if there is evidence to support your claim, you may be able to sue a grocery store or big-box retailer (Walmart, Costco, Target) for food poisoning. This means you can file a lawsuit seeking compensation to pay your hospital bills, other medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages. You also may have a claim against a food processor or other company that sold the contaminated product that made you sick.

What Do I Do If Food I Bought at a Grocery Store Made Me or a Family Member Sick?

Bad Bug Law Team

Many people contact us saying they have been sickened by food, but these are generally not cases unless tests have been done to find out what pathogen made you or your loved one sick. Our law firm is one of the few in the nation that has won numerous personal injury and wrongful death settlements and verdicts for people harmed by eating contaminated food, including a $4.5 million settlement for E. coli  and a $6.4 million settlement for listeriosis.

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What Kind of Food Poisoning do I Have?

Food poisoning can be caused by one or more of the following pathogens:

These are bacteria and viruses that can cause severe illness and wrongful death.

Listeria Bacteria Cause Listeriosis

Contact your local health department.

Counties and large cities have health departments that investigate outbreaks of illness. After you are diagnosed with a specific foodborne illness (discussed above), you should tell your local health department.  You can contact our lawyers before you do this if you need help.

The local health department officials will interview you to find out what you ate in the days before becoming symptomatic. If you and others were sickened after eating an edible product purchased from one specific grocery store, health officials will most likely inspect the store and take environmental samples for pathogen testing. The state health department or the CDC may be called in to help.

In most outbreaks, genetic testing is done on bacterial isolates found in your stools and in the environmental samples. to determine the DNA “fingerprint” of the pathogen that made you sick. In most cases, this evidence can be used to help us win your case.

PFGE Testing

A CDC microbiologist is shown here running a Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) analytical test, which is used in the typing of bacterial organisms.

Hire lawyers with experience winning lawsuits against grocery stores.

Hire our lawyers to do an independent investigation and to protect your legal rights. This sounds self serving, and it is. But you need to do this. We have an incredible amount of experience with these cases and have found evidence not uncovered by a local or federal health official. One reason for this is that we dig into corporate documents looking for evidence of what the company knew and when.


Document the illness.

It is very important that you document how the poisoning is causing harm. Pictures and videos can be used to show the jury the suffering caused by the tainted food. Medical records don’t communicate as well as images.

We will help you with all of this and handle all of the legal matters, and there are many. Legal documents will fly back and forth between us and the attorneys for the retailer. There will be negotiations, and most likely formal mediation. If there is not a settlement before the trial, we will present your case before a judge and jury.

Can I Sue a Grocery Store if My Young Child Has Food Poisoning?

Yes, if your child’s food poisoning can be linked to the grocery store, you can sue on your child’s behalf. This money can be used for pain and suffering compensation, hospital bills and other medical expenses, cost of care and other expenses. The money won in a settlement or jury verdict is generally placed in a trust for the benefit of the child until they are 18 or older.

Young children are at higher risk of a severe complication of an E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). These little ones can suffer kidney failure, seizures, coma, brain damage and other serious health problems, and HUS has long-term consequences that could require a future kidney transplant. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won a $7.5 million jury verdict in a lawsuit filed by parents on behalf of their child.

News and Topics

Vulto Creamery Raw Milk Cheese Listeria Outbreak

Vulto Creamery Ouleout Cheese RecalOur law firm is investigating a listeriosis outbreak linked to raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery. People in 4 states were sickened, and 2 of them died. The ill persons live in Connecticut (1), Florida (1), New York (3), and Vermont (1). The people who died lived in Connecticut and Vermont. In response to the outbreak, Voltu Creamery issued a recall of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft, wash-rind raw milk cheeses. Whole Foods Market has also issued a recall of Ouleout and Miranda cheeses involving 9 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. The recall notice states, “no illnesses have been reported to date.”

MDS Foods Recalls Cheese sold at Meijer and other Stores

In February of 2017, MDS Foods Inc., of Massillon, OH recalled multiple cheese products, some of which were found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and other products, which may have the potential to be contaminated with the bacteria.

E. coli O121 Associated with Gold Medal Flour

General Mills, based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, issued a recall of about 10 million pounds of flour sold under the Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens brands. The recall was prompted by a multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 that has sickened at least 38 people in 20 states. The range of onset of illness was December 21, 2015 to June 26, 2016.

General Mills Gold Medal Flour - Open Bag

Lawsuit against Costco for E. coli from Chicken Salad

On November 30, 2015, our law firm filed a lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corporation and Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc. (“Taylor Farms”) for a client who contracted an E. coli infection after eating “Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad” made with a celery and onion blend made and distributed by Taylor Farms.  The suit (not a class action) was filed by attorneys Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty.

Salmonella Linked to Cucumbers

285 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona were reported from 27 states: Alaska (8), Arizona (60), Arkansas (6), California (51), Colorado (14), Idaho (8), Illinois (5), Kansas (1), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (12), Missouri (7), Montana (11), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (15), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), South Carolina (6), Texas (9), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (9), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3). People were sickened from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. The CDC and FDA have stated that some of these cucumbers were sold by retailers.

Listeria from Product Purchased at Cub Foods, Kwik Trip in MN

In 2014, a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) were associated with eating caramel apples purchased at a number of retail stores. In Minnesota, where 4 people were sickened (3 died), the tainted products were purchased from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods.

Lawsuits Filed against Apple Supplier Bidart Brothers

In 2015, our law firm filed lawsuits for 3 victims of the Listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples. Stores involved in these lawsuits include Safeway, Walmart and Smith’s Food & Drug Centers, Inc. (owned by Kroger). The lawsuits all name Bidart Brothers, the apple supplier, as a defendant (person being sued).

Giant Eagle Apple Salad Recall, Listeriosis Risk

In December of 2014, Giant Eagle, which operates over 400 grocery stores, has issued a recall of Giant Eagle brand Apple Pistachio Salad and Apple Pistachio Salad with Chicken because the salads may contain fresh-cut Gala red apples currently recalled by Del Monte Fresh Produce due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Safeway Cheese Enchilada Recall Due to Salmonella Risk

In December of 2014, Overhill Farms, Inc. of Vernon, California, has recalled Open Nature Chile Cheese Enchiladas due to the risk of Salmonella poisoning (salmonellosis). These products were sold at all Safeway-owned stores: Safeway, Carrs, Genuardi’s, Pak ‘N Save, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Vons. This is a frozen product.

Raw Chicken

Chicken has been the source of Campylobacter and Salmonella outbreaks.

Wegman’s Spinach E. coli Outbreak

In 2012, an outbreak associated with eating Wegmans spinach salad sickened at least 16 people in New York, 4 of whom were hospitalized. In response, on November 1, 2012, Wegmans recalled the following Organic Spinach and Spring Mix salads because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria:

  • Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Spinach & Spring Mix, 11oz – UPC: 77890-16411 – ONLY product sold between 10/14/12 and 11/1/12; and
  • Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Spinach & Spring Mix, 5oz – UPC: 77890-16437 – ONLY product sold between 10/14/12 and 11/1/12.

Our lawyers have won cases involving multistate outbreaks of illness: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.

These outbreaks are often centered in large cities: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City (NYC), Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Richmond, Rochester, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Washington D.C.