Horror stories of foreign bodies found in food always seem to make the news – a dead fly in a bag of salad, a nail or tooth in a pizza, glass in a children’s snack bar. But the consequences of finding a foreign body in your food could be serious. You could suffer cuts to your mouth, chipped or broken teeth, internal bleeding and psychological trauma – and in the most serious cases you may even need surgery. Making a claim for foreign bodies found in food is possible if this has happened to you, and you will need the services of a reputable personal injury lawyer if you decide to go down this route.
What responsibilities do food producers have?
The law in the UK states that food producers and manufacturers must ensure that their food is safe for consumption. This law extends to those who prepare and serve food, for example in a restaurant or café. It used to be difficult to claim for foreign bodies found in food, but thanks to the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act 1987, consumers can now claim for foreign bodies if they find anything untoward lurking in their food, either food purchased from a supermarket or food eaten from a restaurant or takeaway.
What happens if you find a foreign body in your food?
If you find something nasty in your food, it’s a good idea to take photographs as evidence, and to keep the foreign body, if this is possible. You can get in touch with the retailer or restaurant to let them know, but you should never give them the evidence; store it in a safe place, such as in the freezer. Contacting your local environmental health department is a good idea, as they can test the foreign body and send you an official report. If they determine that an offence has been committed then they may instigate legal proceedings or issue a formal caution. However, if you wish to claim for foreign bodies found in your food then you will need the services of a personal injury lawyer – and you’ll need to make sure you claim within three years of your accident.
How common is it to find foreign bodies in food?
It seems that many food manufacturers and retailers are underestimating the amount of products that are contaminated with foreign bodies. According to research carried out in Germany by one retailer, over 600 of its products sold in store had been found to be contaminated with metal over a 12-month period. Glass is the most frequently reported foreign body to be found in food, and in 1995 the Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (in the US) deemed particles greater than 2cm in size to pose a significant threat of injury.
In 2012 there were 107 cases of physical contamination reported in the UK where food was deemed unfit for human consumption. Of these, the majority of cases (34) were contaminated with metal, whilst other contaminants included pests, glass, wood and stone. It’s not just adults who are at risk of finding foreign bodies in their food – 80% of foreign body ingestions in the US occur in children under the age of three. Understandably it can be very distressing and worrying if your child ingests a foreign body in their food, and if this has happened to your child then you could be in line to make a claim for foreign bodies, provided the incident occurred in the last three years.
How much compensation could you get if you ingest a foreign body?
It’s hard to say how much compensation you could be entitled to claim for foreign bodies, as every case is different and handled on an individual basis. However, as a general rule, the more serious your injuries after ingesting a foreign body, the more compensation you could expect to receive. There have been cases where individuals have been awarded in excess of £10,000 for a personal injury claim after finding a foreign body in their food but at the other end of the scale there have been those who have received a small sum as a personal injury settlement. When you get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline, we will take into account not only the severity of your injuries but also the psychological impact of finding something unexpected in your food. If you’ve taken time off work to recover after the incident, we will take into account any loss of earnings you have suffered too.
What to do if you find a foreign body in your food
As we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to keep the foreign body, if possible. If you have ingested it or this isn’t possible then we will usually need to see a copy of a medical report from the doctor who treated you, detailing your injuries. For example, if you have eaten pizza that was contaminated with glass and you have suffered cuts to your mouth or internal bleeding, we will need to gather evidence that shows your injuries were caused by eating the contaminated pizza. Remember that you can make a claim for foreign bodies found in food bought at a shop or supermarket or consumed from a restaurant or takeaway.
How can Accident Advice Helpline help you?
Our personal injury lawyers have over 16 years’ experience helping members of the public to claim compensation and we could help you if you’re considering making a claim for foreign bodies found in your food. Provided it has been three years or less since your accident, you can get in touch with us at any point to find out more about making a claim. Our personal injury advisors offer confidential, no-obligation advice and you can call our freephone helpline on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) to find out more about making a claim. We operate a 100% no-win, no-fee service, so even if you are struggling financially after your accident, you can afford to make a claim with us.