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Who’s Liable for Contaminated Food at Concession Stands?


Sports stadiums and other outdoor venues often provide meals and snacks for attendees, but many of these food preparation services take shortcuts in health and safety measures that may lead to illness.

Even pro-league concessions face numerous violations every year, though none are serious enough to shut down operations. Inspectors of these facilities and staff policies note lack of hand-washing in employees, insect and rat infestations in certain stations, and improper storage of raw meats.

So whether you contract an illness from food prepared in less-than-ideal conditions, or because the supplier negligently provided contaminated food to the preparer, you can file a claim against the responsible party to recover damages for medical costs and suffering due to the condition.

How to File Food Contamination Claims


In serious and obvious cases of injury or illness, such as hospitalizations, cracked teeth, or widespread foodborne illnesses, it can be easy to identify the responsible party and hold them accountable. However, in less clear-cut scenarios, both identifying and proving a defendant guilty are trickier.

Who’s Responsible for Food Poisoning?

Depending on the circumstances, three different types of companies may be responsible for negligently contaminating food. The problem could be at the source: in the kitchens and concession stands that operate below standards of cleanliness. Contaminated food could also have come from the food service that stocks the concession stands with sealed and packaged products, like meat, cheese, and other perishable goods.

Finally, typically in epidemic-type food illnesses, the grower/source of the food could be to blame. This would mean a batch of food from a single farm or slaughterhouse became contaminated before shipped to processing plants and distribution warehouses. These are the hardest source of illness to identify, requiring several confirmed outbreaks from a single source before supply chain investigators can track down the culprit.

How Do I Prove Fault for Food Injury or Illness?

Determining fault for a food injury is typically easier than an illness. Take, for example, when people encounter foreign substances in their food that cause a dental injury, such as mouth lacerations. The cause is usually traceable and clearly found in a single source.

If this has happened to you, take pictures of both the injury and contaminated food for evidence, and tell the food preparer right away of your injury. Seek medical attention if the injury is serious, knowing you may be able to recover damages for medical bills by filing a lawsuit against the preparer.

For cases of delayed illness, it is much harder to pin down the specific contaminated food item. Especially in restaurant food poisoning cases, where diners typically sample several different types of food, the exact cause of a later illness will be difficult to identify without other documented cases of illness.

In addition, many common foodborne illnesses, like those caused by salmonella, take hours or even days to begin exhibiting symptoms. This means the last meal you ate may not be the cause of your sickness, making your case much harder to defend.

Call an Experienced Attorney to Discuss Your Case

It’s not always easy to locate and prove a foodborne illness was caused by a particularly dirty concession stand, given the variables in every case. However, in severe, widespread, or physical injury cases, it may be worth the effort to seek legal action against the guilty party.

If you’ve been injured or hospitalized by a food illness or injury caused by a food preparer’s negligence, call Hensley Legal Group today. Our personal injury lawyers can help walk through your options and file your claim for you. You can also contact us online to start your first conversation with us for free.