While eating fish is supposed to be good for a person, there are times
when it may be deadly.

In this day and age of very unusual incidents involving
product liability, we can now seemingly add food to this long list. If it weren’t
for product recalls, things would seem rather quiet. Think tainted cat
food, dog food, baby’s milk, defective cars, cribs, baby slings,
and a whole host of other products we thought were safe and weren’t.

The latest recall deals with elevated histamine levels in Yellowfin tuna.
What makes this recall slightly more prominent is that not only is the
company issuing a recall for their tuna steaks, but the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) is also on the bandwagon. It’s not that often
the FDA gets mixed into a food recall or drug recall for that matter.

The frozen tuna steaks in question have higher levels of histamines which
would manifest symptoms called scombroid poisoning, anywhere from within
a few minutes up to an hour later. The steaks have a ‘best used
by’ date of December 5th, 2010, and are sold in “12 ounce
bags with Lot Code: 4853309157A with the following UPC code: 0-99482-42078-9
Whole Catch Yellowfin Tuna Steaks (Frozen) 12 oz.”

“This particular allergic reaction may cause diarrhea, vomiting,
nausea, itching skin and hives, a rash, facial swelling, and a tingling
or burning sensation in the mouth. This is quite similar to anaphylactic
shock and quick medical intervention is crucial. Unfortunately, no two
people react the same way to ingesting higher levels of histamines,”
Christopher Mellino, a
medical malpractice lawyer, of the Mellino Law Firm LLC, in Cleveland, Ohio.

In this particular case, the company and the FDA took action quickly and
there have seemingly only been two reported reactions. Nonetheless, if
a person was a victim of ingesting this lot of tuna steak, they would
be well advised to speak to an attorney with experience in handling products
liability cases.

In Ohio, a product is considered to be defective if it does not offer the
level of safety that the public is entitled to expect. This does vary
in each case, with the final arbiter being the court. For all intents
and purposes, the court considers a variety of things to determine if
a product is defective. “They consider how the product is marketed
and what its purpose is; how the product is packaged; any trademark considerations;
any warnings or instructions related to the product; what may reasonably
be expected to be done with the item; and when (the timing) the product
was supplied,” Mellino outlined.

Put another way, product liability provisions apply to companies that make
a product, import a product or sell their ‘own brand’ items
made for them under license. There have even been cases where the store
that sold the item (the retailer) was deemed to be the manufacturer of
the product, making them liable.

“The bottom line is that if you are not sure if you have a product
liability case on your hands, speak to an experienced lawyer who will
explain what kinds of loss may be compensated and how to go about filing
a personal injury lawsuit,” added Mellino. Knowledge is power and
knowing what product liability is goes a long way toward understanding
the legal process to obtain justice. “There is one other thing people
should know,” he said, “and that is in ‘some’
cases the manufacturer may not be liable for the defective product.”

Those circumstances involve the defect in a product not genuinely being
their fault; that the product turned out to be a part of a whole completed
product and the defect is only applicable to the design of the completed
product (making the company who finished the goods liable); when the defect
could not have been known at the time the goods hit the market because
there was not enough technical knowledge; or the product maker complying
with a mandatory standard that caused the defect.