After Food Poisoning Scare at Chicken & Rice Guys, Do You Know Your Rights When Dining Out?

Improper food preparation can lead to food poisoning.

Improper food preparation is one source of food poisoning.

Chicken & Rice Guys shutdown restaurants and food trucks in Boston and Medford earlier this month for more than a week, after 14 people became ill with E. coli. Ten people had to be hospitalized. Given the widespread food poisoning outbreak, it is likely that there will be liability claims against Chicken & Rice Guys for the poisonings.

According to The Boston Globe, the illness was caused by the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0157:H7, the most common strain of E. coli in the United States. The Mayo Clinic reports a person can contract this type of E. coli through:

  • Exposure to contaminated food, such as raw vegetables or undercooked ground beef
  • Contact with an infected person
  • Exposure to food which has not been properly handled

Symptoms typically occur within three or four days and can include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Younger children and older adults are the most vulnerable. In some cases, kidney failure can develop and be fatal.

According to news reports, the City of Boston Inspectional Services gave Chicken & Rice Guys approval to re-open its Boston restaurants. The Medford location is also back in business, but the five local food trucks remain closed.

Boston Food Poisoning Cases

Unfortunately, food poisoning is quite common. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans become sick after consuming contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When restaurants and food trucks are the cause, food poisoning can spread quickly. Remember the Boston College outbreak of 2015? More than 130 students fell ill after eating at the Chipotle Mexican Grille Restaurant in Cleveland Circle. The contamination was initially believed to be E. coli, because the Chipotle chain was in the middle of a nationwide E. coli food poisoning outbreak, which ultimately sickened 60 people in 14 states.

As it turned out, the Boston College students were suffering from norovirus. At least one student filed a lawsuit against the local Chipotle’s.

Your Legal Rights at Restaurants

Diners have rights when eating out. Restaurants and food trucks must follow health regulations set by their local community and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The most basic regulations include:

  • Employees must wash their hands before handling food
  • Meat should be cooked to the proper temperature.
  • The restaurant should be kept clean.

If you see a restaurant violating a health regulation, you can alert the staff or ask to speak to the manager. You can also report it to the city’s local health department.

The City of Boston is now offering a great resource for consumers: a letter-grade system for Boston restaurants. Consumers can search the grades online. At some point, restaurants will be required to post grades on storefronts or face fines of $300 per day.

If You Suffer Food Poisoning, Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer

If you suffer food poisoning after eating at a restaurant, you may be entitled to file a claim for negligence and obtain financial compensation. Contact the lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston to help you investigate, determine if you have a case and identify who may be liable for your injuries. There are several parties who may be responsible, including the restaurant, food truck, food distributors and food manufacturers.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 617-723-7676 or 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.