Can You Sue a Grocery Store for Food Poisoning?

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Grocery stores have a responsibility to ensure the food they sell is safe for consumption. For example, they must store food at appropriate temperatures and ensure that employees handle the food correctly. If you’ve become sick after eating store-bought food, you may be wondering if you can sue a grocery store for food poisoning. If the store’s carelessness caused your food poisoning, you may be able to file a lawsuit in pursuit of compensation.

You can sue a grocer for food poisoning if you have evidence that it was caused by the store’s carelessness. If your lawsuit is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, suffering, long-term health consequences, and other damages associated with your illness. You may also have a claim against other companies that grew, manufactured, or processed the food product that made you sick. 

Keep Food Safe can help connect you with an experienced food poisoning lawyer to help you secure justice, accountability, and compensation. Do not wait to take legal action.

How Does Food Poisoning Occur at Grocery Stores?

Food poisoning happens when you consume food and beverages that contain dangerous parasites, bacteria, viruses, or toxins. A wide range of organisms and chemicals can cause food poisoning. Common forms of carelessness at grocery stores that lead to food poisoning in customers include:

Any unsafely processed or handled food product has the potential to cause food poisoning. However, some items are riskier than others. Common sources of food poisoning include:

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How To Sue a Grocery Store for Food Poisoning

A food poisoning case against a grocery store will most often result in a negligence or product liability lawsuit. It can also result in a wrongful death claim.

Negligence – A negligence lawsuit argues that the grocery store owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to you as the customer and that they violated this duty. In this context, a “duty of reasonable care” implies a responsibility to ensure that the food sold is safe for human consumption. When grocers fail to take safety measures to uphold this duty, they may take on food poisoning liability.

Product liability – Meanwhile, a product liability lawsuit requires showing that the food itself was defective and dangerous—you must show that a product defect or failure to warn caused your poisoning. You may not need to prove the grocery store’s violation of the duty of reasonable care, as product liability laws often involve “strict liability.” In these cases, if a product harms you, product liability attaches regardless of the degree of care taken by producers and distributors. 

Wrongful death – Finally, you can bring a wrongful death claim if you lose a loved one as a result of grocery store food poisoning. This is a specialized kind of personal injury lawsuit brought seeking compensation when someone is killed due to the carelessness of others. If your wrongful death claim is successful, you may recover compensation for things like your loved one’s pain and suffering, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.

If you’re uncertain about what type of lawsuit is appropriate for your food poisoning case, contact a food poisoning lawyer. An experienced food poisoning attorney will know the state laws relevant to your food poisoning lawsuit. They can also help you gather evidence for your case and make sure filing deadlines are not missed.

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How To Prove Food Poisoning From a Grocery Store

If you believe you are the victim of food poisoning caused by a grocery store, you should file a complaint with your local health department. You should also consider filing a food poisoning lawsuit against the grocery store to recover damages. 

To prove food poisoning caused by a grocery store, you need strong evidence. Important evidence in food poisoning cases includes:

How Long Do I Have To Sue a Grocery Store for Food Poisoning?

Every state sets a filing deadline in laws known as statutes of limitations. The specific deadlines vary by jurisdiction, as well as by case type. For instance, Florida sets a two-year deadline for filing food poisoning lawsuits based on negligence but extends the deadline to four years for actions involving product liability. 

Two to four years may seem like a long time. However, you should take action as soon as you believe you have a case, as evidence can be lost over time. For instance, if you wait three years to file your lawsuit, valuable video footage may have already been altered or destroyed. The sooner you consult with a food poisoning attorney, the sooner they can start building a strong claim on your behalf.

To learn more about your legal options, contact Keep Food Safe. We can connect you with a skilled food poisoning lawyer.

What Compensation Can I Receive From a Grocery Store Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

If your grocery store food poisoning lawsuit is successful, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover the aspects of your injuries and losses that can be easily reduced to a monetary value. Non-economic damages cover those that cannot due to their subjective nature. Together, they may compensate for things like:

You may also be eligible to recover punitive damages, which are meant to punish defendants in cases involving seriously irresponsible or egregious behavior. Schedule a consultation with an experienced food poisoning lawyer to learn more about the damages you can recover through a food poisoning lawsuit against a grocery store.

Types of Foodborne Pathogens That Can Be Found at Grocery Stores

All sorts of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins can transmit illnesses through food. This section goes over a few of the most common.

E. coli

E. coli, also known as Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that can live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most E. coli types are harmless or simply cause short-term diarrhea. However, some strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. Around 265,000 cases of E. coli infection happen across the U.S. every year.


Salmonella bacteria usually live in human and animal intestines and are shed through feces. Humans are usually infected with this bacteria through contaminated food or water. Most people with a salmonella infection experience fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea within 8 hours to 3 days after exposure. People normally recover within a week, but in some cases, salmonella-induced diarrhea can cause severe dehydration that requires prompt medical treatment.


Campylobacter is a bacteria commonly found in warm-blooded animals, such as sheep, poultry, and pigs. There are about 1.5 million cases per year in the U.S. You can get a Campylobacter infection by eating undercooked or raw poultry, as well as anything that touches it. You can also get it from drinking untreated water, eating seafood, produce, and other meats, and through contact with animals.


Listeria is a bacteria that contaminates foods like unpasteurized milk products and unsafely processed deli meats. They can also be found in water, soil, and animal feces. Listeria infections can be very dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, older people, and pregnant women.


Cyclospora cayetanensis can cause an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. People can get infected by Cyclospora when they ingest water or food that is contaminated with feces. People traveling or living in subtropical or tropical regions are often at a higher risk for infection. In the U.S., outbreaks of cyclosporiasis are often linked to imported produce.

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