Foodborne Illness Has No Place At Thanksgiving Dinner

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, citizens need to start thinking now about how they can keep their guests safe from the threat of foodborne illness. The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group’s California personal injury lawyers are providing tips on having the safest meal possible.

It’s easy to joke about everyone getting sick because they took a bite of some crazy aunt’s infamously bad fruitcake, but foodborne illness is no joke.

Every year, people sustain serious illnesses around Thanksgiving as a result of food not being handled or cooked properly. While most can expect a bout of vomiting and nausea that lasts a couple days, people from certain susceptible demographics could sustain serious illnesses that could even prove fatal.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group is familiar with the types of situations that often lead a person to come into contact with Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens on and around the holidays. That’s why the firm’s Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have come together to offer insights into the ways an individual might protect themselves and others as their families get ready to share a large Thanksgiving meal.

Larry Nagelberg, who has been practicing law for more than three decades, hopes that the tips his firm has put together can help reduce dangerous illness throughout the holiday season.

“If you’re responsible for preparing your family’s Thanksgiving meal this year, or if you’re bringing your own dish to share, you need to take a few precautions,” said Mr. Nagelberg. “It’s easy to joke about everyone getting sick because they took a bite of some crazy aunt’s infamously bad fruitcake, but foodborne illness is no joke. You owe a duty of care to everyone you serve, and you don't want to fail your loved ones on a day that’s supposed to bring people together.”

With that in mind, food handlers are being asked to keep the following information in mind on this Thanksgiving and any upcoming holidays.

1. The Inexperience Dilemma- Many a holiday get-together is ruined because someone without much experience prepping large-scale meals decides to host a Thanksgiving feast for the first time ever. These persons should be commended for their bravery, but by the same token, such individuals ought to rely on the many resources at their disposal. Check up on recipes and preparation tips from any number of online sources rather than taking a chance on serving something that’s unsafe. If all else fails, have the phone number of a 24/7 carry-out joint ready to go in case the whole dinner is a loss.

2. Make Like Henry David and Be Thorough- Going hand in hand with the issue of inexperience is a lack of foresight into just how much time it takes to cook an entire turkey. If the bird is frozen, it may take a day or more to thaw completely, and it will take hours to cook the turkey all the way through. Taking a risk because you’re on a schedule is unacceptable, as uneven or incomplete cooking could allow contaminants to stick around and wind up on a guest’s plate.

3. Allergy Check- Prior to the big meal, or even before going to the grocery store, the host should call around to guests to see if anyone suffers from any kind of allergy. Should someone be allergic to peanuts, for instance, then Uncle Chester’s World Famous Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes may need to be taken off the menu.

4. Left Out To Dry- People can get so caught up in the football games and general excitement of hanging around with family that they tend to graze, eating a little bit here and there throughout the course of a day. Unfortunately, this means that food may get left out longer than is safe. A given dish should only be out in the open for about two hours; anymore than that and bacteria can creep back into the food.

5. Wash Hands When Coming Back In- Is yours the type of family that celebrates each year with a spirited game of touch football? That’s great, but it means that everyone, even the kids, must thoroughly wash their hands before sitting down to dinner. If just one person has dirt on their hands and fails to clean up, all it takes is one ill-conceived reach into the chip bowl for everyone to be put at risk.

6. Arrive Alive- Persons bringing a dish to a dinner hosted by someone else must follow the same two-hour rule touched upon above. Lengthy travels require a cooler so that the prepared item can be placed on ice during the trip. If necessary, the food can be heated back up upon arrival.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group represents the victims of numerous types of personal injury situations, including automobile accidents, foodborne illness, dog bites, slip and fall incidents, defective products, and wrongful death in any of the above. They have guided injured persons through the legal process for more than 30 years and their efforts have helped secure more than $400 million in compensation for clients. Persons interested in legal representation can visit the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group’s Los Angeles personal injury website at to receive a free consultation.

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Larry Nagelberg
since: 04/2010
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